I have a question regarding filling out the FAFSA or not as a incoming PhD student.
What is the benefit of filling out the FAFSA if you are a(n) (incoming) PhD student? In the US (at least in physics), PhDs are (to the best of my knowledge) fully funded — full tuition waiver + a "decent" TA stipend initially and then an RA later. And so I'm a bit confused if I should fill out the FAFSA at all.
Is it a case of "you might as well," since it could end up supplying me additional funds to supplement the TA stipend (which is usually less than RA stipend)? Could the additional funds go to unforeseen student fees and such? Or is it simply not needed as my tuition will be fully waived and I will be getting paid?
For reference, from a graduate school's website:
Types of Financial Aid
A variety of aid is available for all income levels, including various types of student educational loans (Graduate and Professional Student Loans, Short-Term and Emergency Loans), grants, and Work-Study funding. Contact your graduate program regarding the availability of work-study funding.
Apply for Financial Aid
All students interested in educational loans are required to apply for financial aid via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application. Both applications are free. Whether or not students think they are eligible, we encourage you to apply for financial aid each year. You may apply for financial aid before you have been admitted.