When the subject of financial aid comes up there are always many people who offer their opinions. Some telling “their story” about when they applied for financial aid for either themselves or for their children or some that recant stories that they heard in the news. Since I work in a high school with seniors on a daily basis, I also hear a lot from kids related to college financing and financial aid. Many are under the assumption that it is difficult to apply for financial aid or that money is only available to a handful of college students. One thing for sure is that there are a lot of myths related to the topic of financial aid thus I thought it would be helpful to discuss some of these financial aid myths on my blog.
Some kids have stated that college is too expensive and that their family would never be able to afford the college tuition. Little do they know that billions and billions of dollars are offered to families each and every year to assist with the costs of an undergraduate education, with aid coming in the form of grants and scholarships, loans and work programs. With so many sources of financial aid available, it would be a mistake not to apply for financial aid.
Other students have mentioned that one needs to be in the very top of their class in order to receive financial aid. Although the very top students may qualify for a merit scholarship, which depends on specific college admission policies and availability, the majority of financial aid is based on demonstrated family financial need, versus grade point average. Obviously, the admissions process will look at transcripts, grade point average, and the academic strength of the student. Related to financial aid though, some colleges institute what is referred to as a “need-blind admissions process” which means that students are admitted based solely on admissions criteria, NOT whether they have financial need or not. Whether a student applies for financial aid or not does not have any bearing on the admission’s decision at colleges that practice need-blind admissions, which the majority of colleges do.
I have heard parents say that they make too much money to quality for financial assistance for college. It is nice to believe that, and perhaps in some cases it is true, however, it is important to not make guesses about what a family will qualify for. Eligibility can certainly differ from college to college due to individual institutional awarding parameters and funding levels, however, it would be a shame for a family to not apply for aid when a possibility exists to get funding.
The message to students should be to apply for financial aid, even if they don’t think that they will qualify. One thing for sure is that they won’t qualify if they don’t apply! The process can be overwhelming and confusing, however, not impossible. We developed Financial Aid Sense with the clear vision of providing a tool to families to stay organized during the financial aid process. Don’t miss out on financial aid opportunities! Pick up a copy of Financial Aid Sense and use the helpful checklists, templates, action items and resources to understand the process and for guidance along the way!
Best of luck in the college financial aid process!