Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as FAFSA, opened itself to applicants for the 54th time Oct. 1, a resource many take advantage of to help shudder the financial burden.
The program functions on a first-come-first-serve basis, yet only 70 percent of Coyote seniors have applied for aid according to FAFSA’s student data.
“People don’t understand the effectiveness of what actually completing FAFSA has,” said College and Career Centre coordinator Cintonya Somerville.
Somerville shared that many scholarships, such as merit scholarships, require that the recipient has completed FAFSA in order to take advantage of them. A reason many seniors have yet to apply is that they simply don’t have all the required paperwork to complete the FAFSA.
“Just make sure your parents have all the documents together ahead of time,” said senior Briana Downs.
While FAFSA applicants can receive up to $6,195 per year for college, some students are reluctant to apply. A concern for many potential applicants is that their parents might make too much money to qualify for any aid, or that they might be taking away money from other less fortunate applicants.
“While it’s not required, it obviously helps. Why wouldn’t you take advantage?” said senior Sue Kim. “If a school isn’t affordable for you without financial aid, and you don’t apply for student aid, that’s an entire school you’ve just eliminated.”
Many students feel without additional funding and support from programs like FAFSA, their top choice schools may be out of reach.
“The advice I would give to future applicants is that every year on October 1, while you’re continuing your education, or are in any type of school, apply,” said Somerville. “There may be money available, there may not, but how will you know. While I wish that our application rates were in the 90th percentile, it would be wonderful if every senior applied.”