Our goal as student-athletes is to get a full-ride scholarship so we can pursue our education for free. This is a nice idea, but it’s unrealistic in most cases. This is why most people combine athletic scholarships and federal financial aid to pay for school. If this is the case for you, you are going to want to start with FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
FAFSA determines your eligibility for federal aid such as loans, grants, and work-study funds. By calculating your need, it also helps other scholarship foundations determine your eligibility for their scholarships.
The system takes your information and calculates what they call your EFC (Expected Family Contribution). This is important information for college coaches because this will help them determine the right scholarship package for you. For example, if you have a low EFC, which means your family may not be able to contribute as much money, then admissions and the coaches will work together to find merits and grants that can be put into your package.
Everyone should fill out FAFSA because you never know what other types of scholarships you could qualify for. If you are heading to college within the next year, get this application started. It opened on October 1st and is due June 30th, 2022. But, aid is distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, so get started now!
* Originally published on October 18, 2021, by Anna Garrett