A few days ago, Mark Valdez published a very useful blog post on the United States Department of Education’s website that helps to dispel many of the myths students and their parents have heard about receiving financial aid to cover the cost of their post-high school studies.
Students who are looking to further their education through accredited online colleges or by attending classes in person may be surprised to learn that the financial aid process is not as complicated as some people believe.
In today’s article, we will examine some of the myths Mark presents in the blog.
Myth: My grades were not good enough, so I will not qualify.
The truth is that the majority of federal aid programs for students do not consider the applicant’s grades at all. To continue receiving aid, however, the student has to maintain acceptable academic progress.
Myth: I can’t submit an application before my parents submit their taxes.
The truth is that parents can use estimated income for the current tax year based on that of the previous year. The FAFSA website also has an “Income Estimator.” Once the student’s parents have submitted their latest tax return, the student can then update this information on the FAFSA website.
Myth: I will not qualify because my parents earn too much money.
Contrary to the belief of many aspiring students, there is not an income cut-off in order to qualify for financial aid. Eligibility is based on many factors, and income is just one of them. Even students who believe they do not qualify have nothing to lose by submitting the FAFSA application form.
Myth: It is very difficult to submit a FAFSA application.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, it should take the average student no more than 30 minutes the complete a FAFSA application. Online help is available as well.
Myth: I am self-supporting so I do not have to include information about my parents.
Even if a student is self-supporting, the Department of Education might still consider him or her a “dependent student” for the purposes of receiving student aid. The department’s website states that “dependency guidelines for the FAFSA are determined by Congress and are different from those of the IRS.” More information is available at www.ed.gov.
Myth: I only have to complete the FAFSA application for my freshman year.
The student has to complete the FAFSA application every year that he or she studies at a post-secondary educational institution, including technical and career schools and colleges.