85% of College Students Don’t Know FAFSA Determines Free Aid

The free federal student grant application (FAFSA) opens the door to financial assistance, including scholarships, student traineeships, and student loans. Unfortunately, many students have misconceptions about the FAFSA that could cost it valuable financial support.

Student Loan Hero surveyed more than 1,000 students to test their knowledge and understanding of the FAFSA and the overall financial assistance process. We have found that many students misunderstand this important form and it can result in missing financial aid – or borrowing more student debt than they have to.

Main results

  • 85% of the students didn’t know the FAFSA was finding Eligibility for free help such as scholarships and dual studies alongside loans. (Continue reading)
  • 41% of the students didn’t know that Submit FAFSA early increases their chances of further financial support. (Continue reading)
  • 43% have the mistaken impression that you have to accept this full student loan amount You are entitled. (Continue reading)
  • The FAFSA is a major component of the grant, but 20% of undergraduate college students do not plan to graduate from FAFSA this year. (Continue reading)
  • 58% of undergraduate students have cried over the cost their education, as 47% say they have one considering canceling because of sky high tuition fees and / or cost of living. (Continue reading)
  • 84% of students have been with their School tax office asking for help, and 59% of this group had trouble getting in touch with a representative in the office. (Continue reading)

85% do not know that FAFSA can provide them with free financial aid

The FAFSA opens the door to various types of grants, including scholarships, student loans, and student loans. Unfortunately, 85% of college students surveyed were unaware that the FAFSA eligibility for free gift assistance, not just loans.

Likewise, about half (49%) did not know that this also determined eligibility for federal scholarships, and 78% did not know that this also applies to the state dual study program.

When asked what the FAFSA is used for, only 53% of college students surveyed chose the correct answer: determining how much and what types of grants a student is eligible for.

Additionally, over 1 in 4 students (27%) believe the FAFSA’s primary purpose is to provide financial assistance to students on a certain income – but while that statement is part of what the FAFSA does, it isn’t the whole story.

Regardless of income, there are reasons to file for a FAFSA. For one, any student on an eligible program may qualify for certain types of grants, such as: B. Unsubsidized federal student loans. And, in addition to being the resource for states and schools issuing these different types of grants, the FAFSA is well worth showing your FAFSA in in case your financial situation changes during the year.

41% don’t know that filing the FAFSA early can increase the likelihood of getting help

Not only is it a good idea for any student to fill out the FAFSA regardless of their income, it’s also a best practice to submit it as early as possible.

The FAFSA opens on October 1st each year for the following school year. Some federal and state grants are first come, first served, so submitting them early can increase your chances of getting more financial support.

Unfortunately, 41% of students were unaware that early registration was preferable, with women (45%) missing this information slightly more often than men (38%).

In fact, 42% of those who plan to apply this year have do not plan be sure to do this as early as possible. While these students are applying for financial aid and loans, they could unknowingly cut their financial aid while waiting for submission.

43% think they need to take all student loans on offer

After you submit the FAFSA and enter college, you will receive a grant letter. This award letter will detail how much grant you can receive, including all grants and student loans.

You don’t have to borrow all of the student loans on offer. In fact, it is a good idea to only take out the minimal amount of debt that you will need for school. Even so, 43% of college students thought they had to accept the full amount of student loan that you are eligible for.

This misunderstanding was highest among black students (52%) – followed by Latin American students (48%), Asian students (46%), and white students (34%) – possibly due to a relatively large number of first-generation students in blacks Community. This could result in students taking on more student debt than they need.

Even if your financing offer is designed as an “award”, remember that you do not have to take out all (or even one) of the student loans offered. Work out exactly how much you will need for school and use our student loan calculator to see what the repayment will look like.

If the amount seems too high to you, consider applying for a scholarship or going to a cheaper school.

1 in 5 students do not plan to complete the FAFSA this year

Given these misunderstandings about the FAFSA, it is not surprising that some students fail to submit this important form at all. According to our survey, 20% of college students didn’t plan to graduate from FAFSA this year or weren’t sure they would.

33% of this group believe that they are not eligible for financial help. As mentioned above, the FAFSA determines entitlement to need-based and non-needs-based assistance – there is no income limit, so it is worthwhile for any student to fill out.

Another obstacle related to the FAFSA for students could be confusion around the form itself. Over 40% of college students think the FAFSA is difficult to fill out, and 20% of students aren’t sure they even know how to fill out the FAFSA.

If you feel lost with this important form of funding, these resources can help:

You can also find valuable information on the website of the Federation of Student Aid or you can get free advice from a service such as Frank. Once you begin the process, you may find that FAFSA is easier than you think.

College costs have moved 58% of college students to tears

Tuition fees have increased year on year over the past few decades – a trend that has brought many college students to tears. In fact, more than half of those surveyed (58%) said they cry over the cost of college, including 69% of women and 46% of men.

The cost of college is especially onerous for Latino students, 66% of whom say they cried over the cost. This compares with 61% of white students, 54% of black students, and 50% of Asian students.

In addition, nearly half (47%) of college students have considered dropping out because of the cost of their education and / or the cost of living. This number was also highest among Latin American students (53%), followed by white students (47%), black students (44%), and Asian students (34%).

But while submitting the FAFSA is an important financial step for any college student, applying for scholarships can also help – however, according to our survey, 20% of college students have never applied for a scholarship.

This number was higher among first-generation college students (26%) than among those whose parents had attended college (18%).

59% of the students had problems reaching their tax office

Although a school’s financial aid office is an important resource, many students (59%) report that they have had trouble getting in touch with a representative in the office. The biggest obstacle they encountered was long waiting times.

On a scale of one to five (five being the most helpful and knowledgeable) in their school, more than half (52%) gave it a grade of 3 or less.

Similarly, more than 1 in 5 students (23%) said they think their college doesn’t care about whether they can afford an education.

In addition to assisting you with your funding opportunities, your grant office should be available to assist you should you need to appeal against your grant offer.

It is possible to appeal, but to our knowledge, 30% of students do not know this. This is especially true for first generation college students versus those whose parents attended college (37% versus 27%).

Not only is it a good idea for college students to submit the FAFSA every year, but it is also worth reading about how to appeal your financial aid when it is insufficient. To learn more, read this guide to applying for financial assistance.

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