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Home Ask Student Aid FAQ What should I do if I filed the FAFSA, but got no aid?

What should I do if I filed the FAFSA, but got no aid?

Many students believe receiving grants and scholarships are considered true financial aid. However, student loans are also considered financial aid because the loan terms offered to students in the federal student loan program tend to be the most borrower-friendly. 

Why Didn't I Get Financial Aid?

If you completed the FAFSA and didn't receive financial aid, there a could be a few problems you need to address. 

  1. You did not complete the correct FAFSA. The FAFSA years overlap, meaning when you log in to complete a FAFSA you may have to choose which year's FAFSA to complete. If you completed the wrong FAFSA, your financial aid office may not be calculating your financial aid package for the correct year. Contact your financial aid office.
  2. You need to complete FAFSA Verification. Did you happen to get any correspondence indicating you need to complete FAFSA Verification? If you're selected to complete verification, it's required that you provide your financial aid office additional information before they can award you financial aid. Contact your financial aid office. 
  3. You hit your federal grant and/or federal student loan limits. There is actually a limit to the amount of Pell Grant you can receive, this is know as your Maximum Pell Grant Eligibility Limit. There are also annual and aggregate loan limits in the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program. If you hit your federal student loan limits, you may need to seek a private student loan to help you continue your education. However, keep track of how much you're borrowing and your ability to repay the debt. 
  4. You are defaulted on a federal student loan. Being in federal student loan default could mean you're ineligible to receive additional federal student loans. If this is the case, contact your financial aid office and your student loan servicer, they can help guide you back to good standing. 
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I Didn't Receive Need-based Financial Aid

Some students will file the FAFSA, but won’t qualify for need-based student aid such as:

  • Grants
  • Scholarships that require financial need
  • Subsidized federal student loans

For example, more than half of undergraduate students who file the FAFSA don’t qualify for a Federal Pell Grant or other federal grants.

But you do have options if you didn’t receive any need-based aid.

Federal student loans that don’t require demonstrated financial need:

Here are some other ways to help pay for school:

  • Search for scholarships using a free scholarship matching service, such as
  • Sign up for free monthly scholarship drawings at
  • Ask your college’s financial aid office about institutional and state student aid opportunities
  • Save money on your taxes by using education tax benefits such as the American Opportunity Tax Credit, the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit, and the Student Loan Interest Deduction
  • Find a part-time job
  • Consider private student loans
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