More California Students Applying For Financial Aid

February 28th, 2014 by

After years of rapidly increasing tuition fees, a record number of Californian students are currently making use of college financial aid. Over the last six years, the number of Californian students applying for federal financial aid increased by close to 74% according to the United States Department of Education. A number of colleges saw even bigger increases. California State University, for example, saw an increase of 81% in the number of students applying for financial aid for education.

While tuition fees increased substantially at both the University of California and the California State University over the last couple of years, schools started offering more scholarships and grants to soften the impact of these cost increases.

The government also continued to provide Cal Grants to cover the increasing cost of higher education for lower-income households. According to federal statistics, the percentage of CSU and UC freshmen receiving financial assistance increased from about 57% in 2006-7 to around 72% in 2011-12.

In order to get financial assistance, students who qualify must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA compiles statistics on family assets and income to assist colleges with determining the amount of aid a student qualifies for.

Education counselors encourage all families to complete the application form before the deadline of March 2, not only to make sure that they get access to long-standing student assistance programs, but also because the government has set aside $107 million for “middle-class scholarships” for families who earn less than $150,000.

Monica Roberts is the director of the Cal-SOAP Consortium, one of several organizations in California that conduct regular “Cash for College” workshops to help applicants with FAFSA applications. She said: “More people should apply because more students potentially are going to be eligible this year than in the past.”

The FAFSA application asks students to supply information such as assets, income and family size. The information is used to calculate exactly how much the family will have to contribute towards the student’s tuition. This data is then passed on to university campuses to determine the student’s eligibility for campus, state and federal aid.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 2.65 million Californian students filed FAFSA applications in 2012-13.

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About the Author:

Sandy Davis

Sandy Davis is a long-time educator who holds a Master’s Degree in Education, having taught English, writing, and communication on the secondary and college levels. With ten years of experience in blogging, social media and content management, she is a freelance writer and content marketing specialist for a diverse range of clients.

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