The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a tool meant for all American families to use – even if they think they are not qualified for one reason or another.
Take for example West Virginia.
Not all of its high school graduates have filled out their FAFSA forms yet, even as the deadline looms nearer and nearer. In fact, more than 50% of these students are passing up on the chance to get some financial assistance when they enter college.
“When we go from the enrollment of 12th graders, about 42 percent of them to date have filed their FAFSA for next year,” says senior director of financial aid at West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.
He goes on to point out that FAFSA is not just a gateway for federal aid, but also for the grants and scholarships of individual colleges. Eligibility for these private forms of college aid can cover a wide array of factors, like leadership abilities and moral integrity, and not just income.
This means the average middle-class family could find a nice surprise in store for them if they only apply for FAFSA.
As in the case of Delaware County in Indiana, local seniors are set to receive $1.8 million, and more students are gunning for this money thanks to special “labs” set up to help these students better understand what FAFSA is about.
Bryan Murray of the National Center for College Costs said that it was “the collective efforts of all parties involved” that allowed many more families realize a college dream for their son or daughter.
So if you think you are not qualified to FAFSA, you might want to think again – especially when you’re applying not just for federal aid but for college grants and scholarships as well.