Student Financial Aid Myths
Believing financial aid myths instead of finding out the facts is a major set-up for missing out on educational opportunities!
Anyone can “apply”, using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
In the U.S., student financial aid primarily consists of 3 funding sources, federal, state, and local and/or private funds.
Only U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens, however, can receive federal financial aid funds.
Eligibility criteria vary from state to state as well as funds from private and local sources.
As many of you know, applying for any type of student financial aid itself is a very complex and often confusing experience for many prospective students.
Colleges and universities use federal, state, and local income criteria to determine actual award recipients.
Federal financial aid awards consist of grants, loans, and college work-study.
Current college financial aid recipients must apply every year.
Renewal is not automatic!
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) does provide access to a multiplicity of student financial aid opportunities!
7 Typical Student Financial Aid Myths
Myth #1: My family makes too much money for me to qualify for student financial aid, so it’s a waste of time to apply.
FACT: First of all, every student living in the U.S. and planning to go to college should fill out the FAFSA form, regardless of the family household income. Approximately 85% of students attending 4 yr. colleges and universities in the U.S. receive some type of student financial aid. Family income is just one aspect taken into consideration. Other factors may include such items as college costs, the number of siblings in college, family assets etc. Most financial aid recipients receive a financial aid award package, a combination of grant, scholarship, loan, and/or work-study.
Myth #2: The grades I receive in college have no impact on my annual financial aid award package.
FACT: Quite the contrary! The Federal Government expects you to complete your studies within a given time frame. Therefore, they’ve have a satisfactory academic progress requirement every student must fulfill in order to continue receiving federal student financial aid. Your college or university has specific policies regarding this federal requirement. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of their expectations before the semester begins.
Myth #3: I never have to pay back any student financial aid.
FACT: If you receive a federal or private student loan, in most cases, you will have to pay back the full loan with interest. In the case of federal student loans, however, there are exceptions. FYI – over 35% of financial aid awarded is given out in the form of student loans.
Myth #4: I only have to apply for student financial aid and complete the FAFSA once, before I enter my first year of college. So I don’t have to worry about filling out the FAFSA ever again!
FACT: As a college student, you must complete and submit an FAFSA every year in order to continue receiving student financial assistance. An updated FAFSA will reflect any annual changes in your family’s financial situation. This could impact the configuration of your financial aid award package for the better. If, however, your family should win the lottery, then you won’t have any further student financial need.
Myth #5: There’s no rush when it comes to completing and submitting the FAFSA form.
FACT: Generally speaking, the early bird has an excellent opportunity of receiving a better financial aid package. But it really depends on the student aid priorities of the institution in question. It’s important, however, to pay attention to federal, state and school application start dates, which are often as early as October 1.
FACT: Going to a private college usually costs more than attending a public college or university. Because of their costs, private colleges tend to award more financial aid in an effort to attract students from all income levels. So if you have private colleges on your college wish list, then, by all means, do your homework and pursue those that meet your personal and academic needs.
Myth #7: Getting a college work-study job during my first year on campus may be too disruptive in pursuing good grades.
FACT: For most new, resident freshmen, working on campus 6-10 hrs a week helps significantly with time management issues. In high school, you had a regimented 6-hour schedule. In college, you basically design your own class schedule, attending classes anywhere from 3 to 5 days a week, one, two, or three classes a day. What do you do for the other 12 hours of daylight…study?? Most likely not. Federal college work-study jobs are terrific opportunities to build your professional skills and work experience. Great college work-study jobs can be had on campus such as working at the library or campus athletic center. Off-campus opportunities exist as well. You’ll find that most college work-study employers are sensitive to students’ academic needs and responsibilities. College Work-Study is usually an optional inclusion in a student’s financial aid package.
If you have any questions or concerns about your financial aid status while in college, don’t hesitate to visit your campus’ financial aid office and speak with a financial aid adviser. The experience may be more beneficial than you think!