You should file the FAFSA for you and your child’s benefit.

The government requires students to complete the FAFSA if they want to take advantage of any federal student loans. Many colleges use the FAFSA to determine which students qualify for scholarships and whether the scholarships are going to be need-based or not. Do not leave free money on the table.

Twelve states; Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Texas, and soon Michigan  (with more to come) — will make it mandatory for high school seniors to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA.

Some schools consider filing the FAFSA as a strong sign of intent from the student. In some cases, it increases the likelihood of college acceptance. You are showing the school that you are behind your child’s decision to attend college.

Filing for student aid does not hurt your child’s chance of acceptance. Future doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc. may become contributing alumni. Colleges are businesses. They think about these things.

Whether you make $20k a year or $200k+ a year, the only way to find out if you are eligible for financial aid is to apply.

Finally, if a tragic event were to occur that caused a change in financial circumstances, having a FAFSA on file allows a school to respond quickly to that change.

If completing the FAFSA seems intimidating, use Financial Aid Now stand file the FAFSA care-free.