The Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) is a service offered by the government that allows college students and prospective college students to check their eligibility for all kinds of federal aid, ranging from loans and grants to scholarships and everything in between. If you’re thinking about applying to cosmetology school, you might be surprised to learn that the average cost of tuition for a program is around $20,000. Fortunately, filling out and submitting a FAFSA can help you finance your education and pursue your dream career. As you fill out your form, however, there are some common mistakes you’ll want to avoid.
Not Submitting One Annually
First and foremost, understand that FAFSA forms must be submitted once per school year; all too often, cosmetology students make the mistaken assumption that once they fill out their FAFSA once, they’re all set for as long as they’re in school. Why is it important to fill out a new FAFSA every year? Because your eligibility for certain loans and grants can vary greatly from year to year based on your income, tax status, and other information.
Failure to Review Interest Rates
Just about anybody who submits a FAFSA form will be eligible for at least some kind of aid, even if it’s just in the form of government loans. If you’re thinking about taking out loans to pay your way through cosmetology school, however, you’ll want to be careful not to accept just any federal loan offer. Be aware of the interest rates on the loans you’re offered and understand how much you’ll be paying in interest on your loans as a result. If you’re offered federal subsidized or unsubsidized loans, consider asking a parent to co-sign on your loans so that you can enjoy a lower interest rate.
Misunderstanding Dependent/Independent Status
One common misconception students have when it comes to filling out their FAFSA is not understanding the difference, in the government’s eyes, between being an independent or a dependent in terms of your tax status. Many students who have moved out and are living on their own believe that they can claim themselves as independents, which in turn can make them eligible for more in grants and loans. Unfortunately, the government tends to consider students dependents so long as they’re under a certain age. This means that even if you’re 100% living on your own and supporting yourself, your FAFSA eligibility may still be determined by your parents’ income. And if your parents make more than you, then this could mean you’re not eligible for as much in the way of grants, scholarships, and loans.
Missing Your School’s Due Date
The federal government posts FAFSA due dates on their website each year, but you’ll also want to check with your school’s financial aid office to see when their specific FAFSA deadline for submission is. Often times, individual cosmetology schools and programs have their own deadlines that fall before the “official” FAFSA deadline, which means you’ll need to get a bit of a head start on filling your necessary forms out. If you miss your school’s deadline, there’s a chance that you won’t be eligible for any aid for that academic year, so it’s extremely important not to wait until the last minute to start filling out your FAFSA. This is especially true if you’re relying on your parents to fill out part of the form as a dependent.
As you can see, there are lots of mistakes that can be made when you’re filling out your FAFSA form in preparation for beauty or cosmetology school. By avoiding these common mistakes, however, you’ll be on your way to paying your way through school in no time.