As Financial Aid Administrators, we hear different stories from students about why they didn’t apply, couldn’t apply or weren’t going to receive money. And most of the time, these details or facts are skewed or wrong. Unfortunately some of these myths lead students away from college or put up barriers that aren’t needed. So here’s a few of the top myths we hear in Financial Aid:
#1 My parents make too much money so I won’t apply.
When completing the FAFSA, the major factors that influence your award or funding are:
- Household size
- Number of people going to college
So naturally, the higher the income in a household, the less likely a student is eligible to receive grants or free money to pay for school. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be considered for other resources like work study or be eligible for a scholarship.
And despite your income situation, the Dept. of Education will be willing to offer you at least a student loan (if you want it) to help pay for school.
We encourage students, no matter their financial situation, to consider at least completing a FAFSA to determine what they may be eligible for. By completing a FAFSA, a student will be awarded with the best type of aid available; some students may receive grants, some may only receive student loans and some may receive a combination of both.
#2 I can borrow as much as I want in student loans!
Many students communicate that they have plans to borrow money to cover expenses or have plans to use loan funding to support them when transferring in the future. However, even borrowed money (that has to be repaid in the future), still has limits and thresholds as to how much an individual can receive per year and over their lifetime.
An undergraduate student can only borrow up to $57,500 (through a bachelor’s degree) and only $23,000 of this can be subsidized student loans. While this seems like a lot, it can add up quickly, particularly if you are maximizing your student loan borrowing.
The Department of Education also has limitations on subsidized loan usage and Pell grant lifetime usage. So it’s important to be thoughtful with your college funding from the start since there’s not an endless supply of funding.
#3 It’s too late to apply for financial aid this year.
The FAFSA is currently accessible to complete for over a year at a time, giving you plenty of time to submit your application and determine what types and how much aid you may qualify for.
- For the 2017-2018 FAFSA, this application became available in October 2017 and will remain available to complete until June 30, 2018.
- For the 2018-2019 FAFSA, this application will become available in October 2018 and will remain available to complete until June 30, 2019.
Each school may have a priority consideration deadline to encourage you to submit your FAFSA (and likely Admissions application). Front Range Community College has used April 1st as our annual “priority consideration” date; starting awarding for the upcoming school year close to this date as possible.
- Priority Consideration dates are a guideline as some financial aid can be awarded on a first-come, first-serve policy.
- If you miss the deadline, no worries—-we encourage you to submit your FAFSA as soon as possible!
#4 I don’t have to provide my parent’s information on the FAFSA.
This myth usually comes from some confusion and regulations from the Department of Education. Generally speaking, a student is not required to include parent information if:
- The student is born before January 1, 1994
- They have their own children
- Considers themselves an independent with court documentation
Many students move to Colorado on their own but will still need to include parental information. Even if your parents are no longer claiming you on their taxes, you will still need to include their information on your FAFSA.
Unless you can answer “yes” to one of the FAFSA’s dependency questions, you likely will be considered dependent and need to include parental information.
If you are still unsure or don’t believe you can include parental information on your FAFSA (even if required), stop by the Financial Aid office.
#5 I have to wait to fill out my FAFSA until I have my taxes.
With the 2017-2018 academic year and FAFSA (which was rolled out in October 2017), students can now use their tax information from two year’s prior on their FAFSA.
With an earlier application and using tax information from two years ago, a student can submit their FAFSA much earlier and work on creating a budget and planning out their educational costs—well before they actually will attend classes!
Don’t delay—the 2018-2019 FAFSA is available starting October 1, 2017 and will use 2016 tax information. We encourage you to submit your FAFSA as soon as possible!
We don’t want you to get distracted by these and other myths and have them impact your ability to pay for college. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to come and chat with the Financial Aid Office by phone at (303) 404-5250 or by email at email@example.com.