Free money for college 101: Financial aid night

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Do you stress about paying for college? You’re not alone. With college costs on the rise, more and more students wonder if college is worth the price. The stress students experience, however, can be significantly decreased by learning about financial aid opportunities and taking advantage of them.

Hillcrest has multiple financial aid nights throughout the year, usually the same evening as parent teacher conferences. The first of 2019 was on Tuesday, February 26. A college sends a representative for the financial aid night to inform students and parents of the many opportunities there are for financial aid in college. According to the College Board, more than two-thirds of college students receive financial aid from scholarships or grants.

The biggest topic at Financial Aid Night is the FAFSA (Free Application for Financial Student Aid), as well as different sources of financial aid and how to find them, like scholarships, grants, student loans, and work-study opportunities. The representative answers questions anyone might have about getting financial aid or going through the FAFSA application, as well as clears up any myths or misinformation commonly believed by people who want or need financial aid.

According to the National College Access Network, less than half of high school students fill out the FAFSA every year, and every year thousands of dollars in financial aid go unclaimed because people don’t apply.

A common myth about FAFSA, is that there is a salary cut-off for students applying for financial aid. Students with parents who may be considered “wealthy” are not automatically disqualified for financial aid from the government. Another important thing to remember is that FAFSA only takes about forty-five minutes to fill out, not nearly as long as some make it seem.

There are also other opportunities that come from filling out the FAFSA, like more scholarship opportunities, special opportunities for students loans, and work-study programs.

With all this in mind, every student wanting to go to college is strongly encouraged to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and relax. College should be a good experience, not one where people are constantly stressing about money.

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