What is FAFSA

Hi Auntie, what is FAFSA? I’m looking into scholarships but that’s all I see everywhere. Can you help?

Good question!

What’s FAFSA?

So FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is run by the US Department of Education.

Once you’ve been accepted to a school, this will be one of the first places you’ll go to find money to pay for it. FAFSA provides Student Aid to those who qualify. Essentially, you fill out an online application by going to their website ( and they will let you know if you qualify for grants (which you don’t have to pay back), or loans (which you do have to pay back). They do have YouTube and tutorial videos to help you out with this.

There are two types of loans; subsidized and unsubsidized. You don’t pay interest on Subsidized loans. The government does that for you. And, Unsubsidized loans you pay the interest on them. If you can get by without taking any unsubsidized loans, that’s the way to go. And take only what you need.


If you’re looking into applying for scholarships, which you should, they may ask if you’ve filled out a FAFSA application, or they’ll have you fill out their own Financial Needs Analysis form. Start by checking out the American Indian College Fund for scholarships. Applications can be done online from January 1 through May 31 every year.

Get Help

Talk to someone in the financial aid office at the college you’ll be attending, or applying for to get help. That’s what they’re there for.

Also, if your school has an American Indian student center or office of minority student affairs hit them up. They can help you with other opportunities you might be eligible for.

You can also talk to people in the education department at your tribe or counselors at your high school to learn more about grants your community may offer for college.

Best of luck to you and thanks for writing in!

Good luck,
Auntie Manda

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