FAFSA: more than just a government acronym

Wheeling, W.Va. (WTRF) – For high school students, college means a new environment, new friends and a new world of freedom.

But for the people paying the bill…it’s an additional financial burden on the expense sheet.

That’s why it’s such a shame that hundreds of thousands of dollars are left on the table, unclaimed, every year.

All of this unused money comes from FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Officials say the form only takes about half an hour to complete and point out that’s less time than it takes to catch up on your social media.

The national program isn’t just for student loans, it’s also a step toward state aid, work-study money, and college grants.

Wheeling Park counselors say they help all of their students do this because it’s a burden they won’t have to bear for years, if not decades.

We work very closely with our seniors in particular, all of our students, but especially our seniors, because it’s overwhelming. Senior year can be overwhelming, not realizing how expensive college is, it’s kind of a reality check for them.

Jennifer Short, Counseling Department Head, Wheeling Park High School

It is available now for the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 semesters, but time is running out to complete it.

West Virginia University has set a priority deadline of March 1 to receive the best help possible.

You may need to dig into your files first. You will need things like your social security card, W2 forms, and tax records to file with FAFSA dot gov.

But a little inconvenience now could mean the difference between a debt-free future and monthly loan payments in your mailbox.

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