In need of Financial Aid but don’t qualify?
You may have participated in or over-heard parents discussing the high cost of college. These conversations typically end up with everyone agreeing that they make too much money for financial aid or that they are not from the ‘right’ ethnic group to qualify for free money. In reality these thoughts are actually myths. There are several myths circulating out there; so I wanted to offer some clarity on the five we hear about the most.
People think that they make way too much money to get aid so they don’t try for it. Or if they do fill out the forms they do so without reading the instructions or taking much care, because they are convinced they will not qualify. Don’t let this self-fulfilling prophesy catch you! Many of the families that do apply have six figure incomes and still get aid. So don’t assume you don’t qualify.
People think that only student athletes or academically gifted students will receive financial aid, or that they automatically get money. On the contrary, financial aid is based solely on the financial need of the student, not their position or education level. Every student has to go through the same application process and get evaluated based on financial need.
People think that because their student is a minority, they won’t qualify for money. Or, if their student is not a minority, they will later lose the money they are entitled to. Just as with myth 2, the same applies to myth 3. Minorities have to go through the same process and fill out the application. Their determination is based solely on financial need. The college goes by a formula of COA (Cost of Attendance) – FC (Family Contribution) to arrive at the student’s financial aid need or FN. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, if a Caucasian student was thinking about attending Howard University, a predominantly African American school, they may be offered additional money from the school that is looking to diversify their student body. Another example would be an engineering department giving precedence to a female over a male. Other than this, the process of filing for college and financial aid still has to be followed.
Guidance counselors are trained to help your student get into college. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Their job is to help your child graduate high school – period! Most of them don’t even know the process of applying to colleges, and often give damaging advice. Unfortunately they are often assigned to far more students than they are able to serve effectively, which simply compounds the problem.
Colleges and Universities can help. Again, this is not true. They may not be the enemy, but asking them how you can get more money for college is like asking the IRS how you can lower your taxes.
By being aware of the myths you can make informed decisions about the college admission and application process. Feel free to explore our blog where you will find additional information to help you navigate this journey. In addition, you are welcome to register for one of our workshops where you will learn how to pay for college without going broke!