Uncover the Truth: 7 Popular Financial Aid Myths

Aug 16, 2021 Paying For College

With financial aid deadlines fast approaching, there are some misconceptions you want to be aware of. Here are seven popular financial aid myths.

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Still not sure if you should take the time to apply for financial aid? The short answer is yes, you should! Submit your FAFSA as early as you can.

Don’t make the mistake of deeming yourself ineligible or skip the application altogether. Keep reading to see how we’ve debunked seven popular financial aid myths.

Myth #1: I Can’t Afford To Go To College

The cost of attendance seems high, but is that really the case? Don’t let a school’s sticker price scare you. Universities include the cost of student housing, books, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses in their estimates. Projects may be much higher than your actual cost to attend, especially if you’ll be receiving financial aid. Instead, focus on net price, which is your cost to attend minus any financial aid you receive. These numbers can be quite different.

Myth #2: My Family’s Income Is Too High

Universities sometimes require you submit the FAFSA to be eligible for any type of financial aid. You may or may not qualify for need-based financial aid, but you certainly could be missing out on merit-based aid such as scholarships, along with low-interest loans; both can help you pay for your education. Don’t let doubt keep you from missing out.

Myth #3: My Grades Are Poor

Admission and financial aid are two separate matters. While schools may have GPA requirements for incoming freshman, the FAFSA has none. The financial aid that is extended to students is based solely on financial need. However, you must reapply each year you’re in school and meet basic criteria to remain eligible. To learn more, visit your school’s website and search for their Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.

Myth #4: I Can Exclude My Parent’s Information

Your parents aren’t going to help pay for school so surely you can exclude them, right? For the most part, the answer is no. There’s only a few special circumstances which allow you to exclude your parent’s information. Be sure to review the Who is Your Parent guide to learn more about whose information you should report.

Myth #5: Filling Out The FAFSA Is Hard

Filling out the FASFA is pretty straightforward, and the more prepared you are, the simpler it is. You’ll be guided through the process as you start the application online. If you haven’t already, you’ll begin by creating an FSA ID, and a username for U.S. Department of Education sites. Get your Social Security number, driver’s license, and financial information ready.

Myth #6: I Can Fill Out The FAFSA At Any Time

To be considered for federal student aid for the 2021–22 award year, you can complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form between October 1, 2021, and 11:59 pm Central Time (CT) on June 30, 2022. Any FAFSA corrections or updates must be submitted by 11:59 pm CT on September 10, 2022.

However, many states and colleges have earlier deadlines for applying for state and institutional financial aid. Find your state’s deadline. Check with your college or career school about its deadlines.

Myth #7: Filling Out The FAFSA Is Time-Consuming and Costs Money

The FAFSA can usually be completed in under an hour, and that’s overestimating the amount of time it requires. An hour or less for access to thousands of dollars doesn’t seem like a bad deal. Plus, it’s free. That’s right. The FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, won’t cost you a thing.

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