"If it wasn’t for federal financial aid, huge numbers of students would be shut out of college, yet it’s a continuing struggle for community colleges to persuade prospective students eligible for aid to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)," Community College Daily reports.
"According to the National College Access Network, more than $24 billion of financial aid for higher education goes unclaimed each year.
'It’s hard to nail down why it’s happening,' says Megan Coval, vice president for policy and federal relations at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA).
'A lot of it has to do with awareness,' Coval says. 'Students don’t know financial aid is available, they don’t know what the FAFSA is and don’t fill out the form.' Some students don’t think they will be eligible or think only the lowest-income students can receive Pell grants, she added.
While high schools usually provide FAFSA sessions to seniors, older nontraditional students who comprise a sizeable number of community college enrollments tend to fall through the cracks. As a result, many community colleges make an extra effort to reach them at places like community centers, libraries and work.
Another roadblock, Coval says, is 'lingering intimidation about the form itself.'
While there have been recent attempts to simplify the complex and lengthy FAFSA, much more needs to be done, college aid officials agree."
NASFAA's "Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.
Publication Date: 11/15/2017