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WVU experts encourage students to complete the FAFSA to be eligible for student financial aid, grants, work-study programs and scholarships

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Each year, hundreds of thousands of dollars in student financial aid is left unused simply because students don’t apply. Students and families often think they are not eligible for aid or that completing the form is too complicated. Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid can translate into hundreds and even thousands of dollars toward college or career schools. This can make the difference with a student earning a degree or certification.

The FAFSA is now available for the fall 2022 and spring/summer 2023 academic semesters. The priority deadline for West Virginia University is March 1 for the upcoming academic year to receive the best aid offer available. Margaret Miltenberger, WVU Extension associate professor and member of Extension’s Financial Literacy Education Team, and Sandra Oerly-Bennett, assistant vice president, WVU Student Financial Support and Services, note that it is best to apply now because some funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.


“Completing the FAFSA may qualify you for more than federal student loans, it is also the gateway to college grants, work-study funds, and state-based aid. It is also required alongside West Virginia’s Promise Scholarship application. Most students receive some type of financial aid, so you should fill out a FAFSA even if you don’t think you qualify. Submitting a FAFSA is the most important thing you can do to get money for college.”

“The FAFSA isn’t just for people who need federal student loans. The FAFSA also may determine whether or not you have to pay back that aid, like college scholarships, grants and even work-study funding. Many colleges and states use it to provide their own college and state financial aid. And, for students who qualify for the Promise Scholarship, the FAFSA must be submitted by March 1.”

“It is easier than you think. The FAFSA takes about 30 minutes to complete online – less time than catching up on your social media channels – and it is free to submit. The application, which can be completed in both English and Spanish, will need to be completed each year because your financial situation may have changed. The time spent completing a FAFSA can translate into hundreds or even thousands of dollars to help pay for college.”

“Before starting the application, the student will need to create their own username and ID, and collect the items needed. If parents need to provide information, they will need to create their own ID as well. There is a list of items on that you will need to have available to make it easy to complete such as your social security card, 2020 W2 forms and tax records.” —Margaret Miltenberger, WVU Extension associate professor and member of the Extension Financial Literacy Education Team


“Once the student’s FAFSA is processed, they will receive an aid offer outlining the aid they are eligible to receive. But that doesn’t mean they have to accept everything that’s offered. Even after their FAFSA is complete, students will still have a choice which offered loans and other offered aid they’d like to accept. That way, they can still monitor and try to minimize their debt by borrowing only what they need.”

“In many ways, submitting the FAFSA is easier than it’s ever been. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows eligible students and parents to securely transfer tax return data directly into their FAFSA without typing in all their information manually. The myStudentAid app also allows students to submit the FAFSA right from their smartphone or mobile device, making the task even more streamlined and convenient.”

“Some students hesitate to complete the FAFSA because they have unique, sometimes complicated, family circumstances that they worry will make it too difficult. But there are plenty of resources available to help work through those situations, and the WVU Hub is always here to help. The FAFSA is still an option, even in situations where you may not be able to get parent information, your household has experienced divorce or remarriage, the passing of a parent, immigration from another country, housing displacement, or many other circumstances that you may think prevents you from applying for aid.” — Sandra Oerly-Bennett, assistant vice president, WVU Student Financial Support and Services

Answers to specific questions about completing the FAFSA, as well as videos, are available on the Complete the FAFSA webpage. The WVU Hub offers helpful resources, as well as free, virtual one-on-one appointments to students who need assistance submitting the FAFSA. Complete an on-line form and register for a time slot today.

WVU financial aid experts also will be guests on WVU Extension Today on West Virginia Public Broadcasting Jan. 30 at 1 p.m. Tune in to learn more about completing the FAFSA.

West Virginia University experts can provide commentary, insights and opinions on various news topics. Search for an expert by name, title, area of expertise, or college/school/department in the Experts Database at WVU Today.



CONTACT: Tara Curtis 
WVU Extension Service  
304-293-7996 (office) or 304-698-2472 (cell);  

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