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Three Myths about Financial Aid that Keep Students from Applying

Here’s a surprising number: Only 45 percent of high school seniors complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), missing out on billions of dollars in financial aid every year.

The National College Access Network (NCAN) is trying to change that with the Form Your Future campaign, which encourages high school seniors across the country to apply for financial aid.

NCAN, an America’s Promise Alliance partner, discovered that many students have misconceptions about financial aid, misconceptions that ultimately keep them from applying.

Here are three big myths about financial aid.

  1. Most students aren’t eligible for financial aid. In fact,nearly all students would receive money for college, if they applied for it,” NCAN found. In 2014, about 1.4 million students missed out on billions of dollars simply because they didn’t apply.
  1. Not enough aid is available. Far from it. Every year, NCAN says, more than $2 billion of financial aid doesn’t get claimed. “To get this money for college, all students need to do is fill out one form: the FAFSA.”
  1. Only the students who really need the money apply. Not exactly. The students who would most benefit from financial aid, including students from low-income families and students who would be the first in their family to go to college, are often less likely to apply.

“Nearly all students (92 percent) with a household income of less than $50,000 who applied for federal student aid received a Pell Grant, worth up to $5,815 in 2016-17, which unlike a loan, does not need to be repaid,” NCAN found.

So what can you do?

Visit formyourfuture.org. The campaign website provides a FAFSA guide, an outreach toolkit, and an event toolkit if you’re interested in hosting FAFSA events in your community.

You can also share the video below—which has already been viewed 1 million times—with the hashtag #FormYourFuture: