How you can separate financial aid fact from fiction

Unless you’re an accountant, a math genius, or work for Charles Schwab, you’re probably a little nervous about the whole financial aid thing. That’s OK. We know it’s a little (maybe a lot) scary for most people.

On Monday, we defined some of the financial aid terms. Today we want to debunk some myths you might think are true thanks to College Parents of America and the Student Advisor Blog.

We hope debunking these myths will give you the confidence you need to start and successfully navigate the financial aid process.

Myth: Only students from low-income families qualify for financial aid.

Fact: All families should apply for aid. Many may be eligible for grants or scholarships, and almost all will quality for low-costs educational loans for parents and students. 

Myth: Filling out the FAFSA is too complicated.

Fact: As you’ll read later here, it’s easier than you think. While it can seem intimidating, millions of people have successfully filled it out. And, the online form was recently reduced from 27 pages to just seven.

Myth: Saving too much money disqualifies families from financial aid.

Fact:   Fewer than 4 percent of families who apply for aid are penalized for their savings.

Myth: Only students with the best grades qualify for financial aid.

Fact:  Most financial aid is based on need. Only a smaller portion is based on merit.

Myth: Student loans aren’t worth it.

Fact:  Without student loans, few students would be able to go to college. Keep in mind, too, that someone with a bachelor’s degree earns $1 million more over his or her lifetime than a high school graduate.

On Friday we’ll address what you need to know before you apply for financial aid so stay tuned.


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