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A new study looks at the reasons so many eligible students never even apply. Nearly all students qualify for federal aid, and 85% of four-year college students receive some type of aid.
Yet 20% of all undergraduate students failed to fill out the financial aid application in 2011-12, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Why don't they apply? Some of the reasons are:
“I have not heard much about financial aid.”
“Scholarships and student loans? I think you’d have to be in a certain percentage to get financial aid?”
“I have no clue.”
“I’m not sure about financial aid but isn’t that like support from friends and family to help you in college?”
Non-applicants in the study also believed they would have to repay grants—such as Pell Grants, the cornerstone $30-billion program upon which more than 9 million students with financial need rely to fund their postsecondary education.
With the FAFSA form now available to students three months earlier on Oct. 1, there’s no time to waste. This year, the FAFSA is also simpler because many more families can autofill tax information already filed with the Internal Revenue Service.
Students left more than $2.7 billion in aid on the table in 2014. This year, apply early to get your financial aid.