Edited by Laura Morrison for GradSchools.com, February 2014
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the potential benefits of filling it out should never be far from the thoughts of students who wish to make earning a degree more affordable. Recently, however, it may be on their minds more than usual, thanks to the efforts of First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
If you have an interest in applying to graduate school, but you think paying for your studies may prove challenging, don't forget to fill out the FAFSA. This application isn't just for bachelor's degree seekers, as graduate students may be able to benefit from it as well. If you still need more convincing, then maybe the first lady can convince you.
The FAFSA makes a difference
Obama and Duncan recently made their way to T.C. Williams High School in Virginia to talk to students and parents about the FAFSA and how it could help them achieve their higher education goals. While this particular event was for college-bound students, there's no denying the ways the FAFSA could benefit qualified degree seekers of all ages.
The first lady knows a thing or two about how helpful FAFSA aid can be. After all, Obama, who graduated from law school, filled out the application when she was a student and participated in the Federal Work-Study Program.
"And I was a work-study student all throughout college, and I had some great jobs," Obama said in her speech at the school. "On top of helping you pay for school, work-study gave me some of the best experiences that I've ever had - I ran a daycare center, I worked in an office. I did a lot of really interesting things in college, and it really made a difference. So work-study is something that's available if you fill out your form."
How eligible graduate students could benefit from the FAFSA
On a yearly basis, the U.S. Department of Education provides more than $150 billion to students in higher education settings every year, according to a Federal Student Aid office brochure.
Filling out the FAFSA could open the door to several financial aid opportunities that may be available to qualified students, such as Direct Unsubsidized Loans, available through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. This particular form of financial assistance allows qualified students to borrow up to $20,500 in an academic year. Meanwhile, Direct PLUS Loans may be available to those eligible individuals who need additional money, on top of what may be available to them through unsubsidized loans.
About the Author: Laura Morrison is the Web Content Manager for GradSchools.com. She earned an MBA from the Rutgers School of Business in 2010.