Students don’t utilize all available financial aid

Published by adviser, Author: The Rocket Staff, Date: March 17, 2016
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Whether students are toiling through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or applying for scholarships, applying for financial aid is an important step for every college student.Students might not be getting the amount of financial aid that they’re eligible to receive.

According to a 2015-2016 Princeton Review Survey, 93 percent of incoming freshmen and 94 percent of all other undergraduate students qualify for some type of financial aid. But according to collegeboard.org, only two-thirds of students  (60 percent) actually use financial aid to help them pay for college.

Essentially, one third of students who are eligible for financial aid don’t apply for it. The Rocket staff feels that if students were more thoroughly educated on their financial aid options they could have less stress regarding financial planning, and would be relieved of the majority of their student loan debt when they leave the university.

To top it off, FAFSA is changing this year. The FAFSA used to be filled out after Jan. 1 each year and would use the tax information from the year before to make decisions about how much aid students would receive. It was a difficult process because students would have to wait for their taxes to be completed before applying. The FAFSA will now be open on Oct. 1 and families will be able to use tax information that was already filed.

Completing the FAFSA before May 1 will allow students to be considered for the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) grant. Missing this deadline means that students will not be considered, and if students miss the deadline, then they lose the opportunity to get additional aid.

Students who are struggling to afford college in the first place would benefit from knowing about all of these options, and it would help retention rates for the university.

Director of financial aid and scholarships, Alyssa Dobson said that the financial aid office’s primary mode of communication is through SRU portal.

Students who borrow for the first time will be given the requirements and explanations of how to complete the introductory courses. If the government decides that they need more information about a student, they can get this information through the portal. The office will then notify the student on the status of their financial aid report.

This process is a solid one, but we think that everyone should have additional information about financial aid. We think that this information would best be distributed through FYRST seminar classes. That way if students miss their first year of applying and receiving financial aid, they could plan out the rest of their college financing accordingly.

Different awards are given to students, which each have their own annual requirements Requirements vary from program to program. For example, to receive federal aid, students must  maintain a 2.0 GPA and have a 67 percent completion rate, which is the ratio of the number of classes a student attempts to those they successfully complete.

Having this knowledge presented to students early could also help students remain on track so that they can receive all financial aid that is available to them.

If students remain knowlegeable, college could be more affordable.

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