^^ Editing the above to add that the report DID include the option for $5500 (I think) unsubsidized loan that she could take out on her own if she wants. Not sure the FAFSA is required for that.
None of the schools my D applied to required it. We didn’t fill it out. She got plenty of merit aid. You can always fill it out in future years should your financial situation change.
It probably depends on the individual school’s policies. For example, my school doesn’t automatically offer students loans since they theoretically meet full need without them, so I had to go into my financial aid portal after May 1st to request loans.
For some, to get $5500 loan during first year of UG, may be the only reason to fill FAFSA. If your EFC is very high and you do not qualify for any federal financial aid, to be considered for purely merit based scholarships (and no $5500 loan), FAFSA may not be required at all. Please call the school or college to confirm their requirements for FAFSA and/or CSS.
Only 2 of her 9 schools asked for it, via email, after she submitted her applications. They specifically mentioned needing to have it on file for both merit awards and federal aid. Once we completed it, we ended up listing all of the schools. The school that we received the report from was not one of the 2 that requested it. I’m guessing they just responded to the fact that we had submitted it.
We never filled out the FAFSA with my other daughter. She received several merit awards but ended up at our state university with no merit. I’m not sure whether we would have had to fill it out in order to claim any of the merit - we never got a notice that it was required.
We probably could have waited to see if she picked one the schools that requested it, and see if she even received merit from that school, and then fill it out but everything I read on the subject suggested that we should just do it and send it ASAP.