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5 Misconceptions About College Aid

Roger_DooleyRoger_Dooley 6084 replies100309 threadsFounder Senior Member
This might be old news to CC veterans who have been dealing with the financial aid process for years, but Morningstar posted an article that has some good advice for families who haven't been through the process before:

"Mistake Number 1: Assuming you won't qualify for grants.
According to government estimates, an estimated 2 million students who are enrolled in college and would be eligible for a Pell Grant never applied for aid...

Mistake Number 2: Ruling out federal student loans.
Although some private student loans may advertise lower rates, further investigation is warranted..."

Read all five:
http://news.morningstar.com/articlenet/article.aspx?id=774994
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Replies to: 5 Misconceptions About College Aid

  • MassDaD68MassDaD68 1524 replies24 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    So true there mom. I am not sure how the government even came up with 2 million people being eligible for pell grants. But I always felt that just because you got the letter saying you were eligible for a pell grant did not mean you got one. The reality is that college is very very expensive.
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  • thumper1thumper1 74742 replies3274 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited October 2016
    @MassDaD68

    Not sure what you mean about the Pell. If your EFC is below the criteria, you WILL get the Pell or a portion of it. It's an entitlement grant.
    edited October 2016
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  • MassDaD68MassDaD68 1524 replies24 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Ok. So then I guess the government is saying they just never applied or submitted a FAFSA. Hard to believe that a family with such an EFC would not have become aware of the FAFSA somewhere along the line. I guess. It just seems a bit hard to believe. Which I guess is why the government is making that point.
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8918 replies333 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @MassDaD68, My son receives a Pell grant of a couple hundred dollars per semester. He's commuting to a 4-year school so it doesn't make a dent in the tuition, but it's enough to buy a book or two. He's still counted in the Pell numbers. I'm sure many, if not most, of the kids who attend their local community college are Pell grant recipients too. I don't think 2 million is an unrealistic number.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34079 replies376 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    #7, assuming the COA minus Fafsa SAR is what you'll get.
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids 84090 replies1024 threadsForum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Forum Champion
    Assuming acceptance means merit will be forthcoming.



    (I wonder if some of those folks who "could qualify" for a Pell Grant, but don't apply, are saving their eligibility for later?)
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  • CenterCenter 2204 replies66 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The government loves to play with numbers to suit their own agenda. Many people don't want to submit all of their finances for a few 100. I know many people that use all of the calculators and do quite a bit of research and decide not to apply for privacy issues with very little potential benefit.
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  • s3s3 48 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Center if an applicant is in the neighborhood of qualifying for a pell grant, many schools will have their own institutional grant money available for those in such a bracket.

    Even in higher income brackets families are leaving a lot of money on the table. It may not be 20-30k but if you get 3k for spending 1 hr filing out 2 forms (fafsa/css) isn't that worth a little effort?......tax free at that.

    Unless you are living off the grid and have no electronic foot print the privacy argument is weak. People are either underestimating the amount funds available or just don't want to be bothered.
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids 84090 replies1024 threadsForum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Forum Champion
    We've seen a number of posts from kids who can't file FAFSA because they have a parent who hasn't filed taxes in recent years, and won't do it because they would owe. I imagine that some citizen students who have undocumented parents don't file because their parents fear being deported (even tho that wouldn't happen).

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  • s3s3 48 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @mom2collegekids Yes, I totally agree. My point only pertains if you have your taxes filed, many do not for various reasons.

    I guess this could be considered a type of "filtering mechanism" (for better or worse) that has been mentioned in this forum.
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  • ElMiminoElMimino 303 replies10 threadsRegistered User Member
    #7. Assuming that Ivy League schools are unaffordable.
    Do the NPC for every interesting school.
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  • NoelleCfNoelleCf 53 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Average time to fill out the FAFSA is 25 minutes? LOL There must be some awfully fast people to offset people like us. We are already well past that (having attended one session at the high school) and have a a fair amount of time to go. We have a local agency that helps, but we need to gather the documents, go to the meeting with their expert, and then take the time to make whatever changes to our financial situation he advises before completing and submitting the forms. I'm hoping it gets easier in years to come, but this first year is a bear. But we are doing it just in case.
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  • poblob14poblob14 369 replies69 threadsRegistered User Member
    I guess we are one of the families that offsets @NoelleCf . Download the IRS info, type in the balances from the various bank/broker websites, hit submit.
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  • NoelleCfNoelleCf 53 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @poblob14 -- That would be great. I realize our case is more complicated than most, but 25 minutes seemed overly optimistic judging by how many meetings our school and nonprofit college support agency sponsor for it and how long it seems to be taking everyone else at the meeting. Maybe the ones with simple straightforward cases don't go to the meetings, so I'm getting a skewed perspective. I just feel fortunate that we have a local expert to help us.
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  • poblob14poblob14 369 replies69 threadsRegistered User Member
    @NoelleCf By the time our high school had their meeting, our FAFSA had been on file for a week. So I assume you're right; the people with simple cases don't go to the meetings.
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  • MassDaD68MassDaD68 1524 replies24 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It took me only about 25 minutes to manually input all. IRS tool did not work so I just input the figures.
    I only have income and investments. Nothing complex. Just logon to accounts for balances and input into FAFSA. easy peasy.
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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 14733 replies985 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Biggest misconception I read in Cc is that "How much money will FAFSA give me?".
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