Hi! My name is Marcella Sweet and I am a senior at the University of Utah. I’m majoring in Business, Finance, and Strategic Communications.
I also work part-time for StepUp Utah and I’m excited to share my FAFSA Success Story with you.
Although I did not realize it until about 2-3 years into college, FAFSA has been there helping me behind the scenes since I started. I remember being 18, starting my first semester of college, when I met my advisor and discussed my finances for college. I recall her handing me a stack of paperwork with words like grant, loan, or interest and telling me that all I needed to do was, “Sign here and I can go to school”.
I filled out my FAFSA because I was told to, not because I knew what it was used for or why it benefitted me. The FAFSA seemed scary at first glance, asking for answers I did not understand and addressing subjects I had not yet learned. However, despite the initial hesitation, FAFSA is not nearly as difficult as it appears.
Although I did not realize it until about 2-3 years into college, FAFSA has been there helping me behind the scenes since I started.
Now that I am near graduation looking back on the time when I did not understand college finances, I can only say I wish I had learned more then and known the benefits of what I was doing. I have qualified for Pell Grants and Financial Aid because I filled out my FAFSA. Without this aid, I would have needed to make up the difference out of my own, already empty, pockets. Although I have moved past qualifying for Pell Grants, I still fill out my FAFSA each year in case I decide to go to graduate school.
Taking the time to learn about finances, be comfortable with your own situation, and understanding why you are answering questions is incredibly helpful to the college experience. It will make college far easier if you understand what is happening around you. Financial assistance played a major role in my college career and I would have struggled far more without it.
I encourage you to complete your FAFSA, and reach out to us if you have questions or need help!