- You don't know you won't qualify until you complete it. There are many elements of the Fafsa that impact your Pell Grant eligibility. Some examples would be if you're married, have dependents, or earn income other than from work (such as certain types of government assistance).
- You have to complete a Fafsa, even if you know you won't qualify for any Pell Grant, in order to fill out federal loan paperwork. So if you want a subsidized or unsubsidized Stafford loan, then a Fafsa must be completed.
- There are times when your FA administrator can work with your income to help you Pell Grant eligibility. The Department of Education stipulates that the Fafsa is dependent on your most recently completed year's income, but if it's not an accurate representation of your present situation, there are times when that can be taken into account. Some of the rules for Fafsa can bend, and some can't. Be sure to talk to your FA administrator about any situation that might impact your Fafsa. (Remember: you must fill out your Fafsa 100% accurate the first time, and only the FA administrator will know how or if your Fafsa can be worked with.)
In the end, you should always fill out the Fafsa for the above reasons. Even if you qualify for the minimum amount, that's still going to be a small amount that you won't have to worry about paying back. Since it's a grant, your Pell Grant will help you take some of the burden from figuring out how to pay for your tuition. Why not try for it? The worst thing that will happen is you won't get any. It costs nothing to complete the Fafsa, so go for it!