Hi! My name is Fred Ha and I work for StepUp to Higher Education as a FAFSA specialist at Granger High. I’m excited to share FAFSA Success Stories from some of my students.





I worked with a student who knew that college was very expensive. This student told me that he was thinking of finding a career right after graduating high school. The financial burden he thought college would put on him was enough that he didn’t even consider applying to college. However, after talking to him about what career options he was thinking about, I quickly pulled up some relevant information on the majors offered at local colleges so he knew there were options out there to strengthen his skills for his desired career. Our discussion still didn’t appear to sway his opinion because he didn’t think that he was able to get the money for college and was adamant on avoiding taking out student loans.

Then, I showed him some numbers on what FAFSA offers, compared those numbers to tuition rates of schools, and pointed out that he would either have tuition completely paid off or substantially paid off if he qualified for the full Pell Grant. He was shocked at how much the FAFSA could save him on college and how attending college after high school could make him earn thousands of dollars extra each year.

When we met again to fill out the FAFSA, he appeared much happier to report that he talked to his parents about it and they were also on board with him pursuing higher education now because he wouldn’t be in such a financially difficult situation. After filling out the FAFSA, he did qualify for the full Pell Grant, and his whole career path for the rest of his life will have more doors opened because of it!

Why Students Should File the FAFSA

A common stereotype is that college tuition is expensive. Since this is a major driving force for whether or not people attend college, it’s a clear problem, but there is an answer to it. The FAFSA is a great tool because of how much it has helped fund the success of students all over the U.S.

There are many reasons why every student should file a FAFSA:

  1. It’s free! The very first reason why you should file the FAFSA is that you don’t have to pay for it. You can rest easy knowing that it’s only here to help you.
  2. It can save you thousands of dollars on tuition! The main reason why people fill out the FAFSA is to see how much financial aid they qualify for. This helps people not just get the Pell Grant, but also can offer work-study and federal student loans if they need extra help.
  3. There are many resources available to help you! There are many difficult sections of the FAFSA that students may not know the answer to, but there are many people  you can reach out to. In addition to the faculty at your school, you can reach out to StepUp Utah if you have any questions when filling it out.
  4. It is a requirement for many scholarships! Many scholarships now are requiring students to have a FAFSA filled out before applying, such as the Regents’ Scholarship.

These are only a few examples of why students should file the FAFSA, which just provides further evidence of its importance. If you are a student and have not filed your FAFSA yet, get it done as soon as possible to help you fulfill your unlimited potential in your academic career!

If you need help completing the FAFSA, reach out to StepUp for help at outreach@utahsbr.edu.

Fred Ha is a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) expert with StepUp Utah who works with students at Granger High School to complete the FAFSA to get to college. If you need help completing the FAFSA, reach out to StepUp for help at outreach@utahsbr.edu.