Everybody whose child is in college or is heading there in the fall needs to repeat after me: I will not leave money on the table.
I suggested the oath after I discovered that millions of students are not applying for federal student aid.
According to a new analysis by Mark Kantrowitz, who runs FinAid.org, 8.4 million students never bothered to seek federal financial aid for the 2007-08 school year. That adds up to nearly 41% of college students.
When Kantrowitz took a closer look at these financial-aid no shows, he discovered that 27% of the students would have qualified for free federal cash, otherwise known as Pell Grants.
Even if a family makes far too much money to qualify for government grants, it still makes sense to apply for federal student aid. To do this you need to complete the FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Without filling out federal paperwork, you won’t be eligible to obtain federal loans. If the recession ends up taking a bite out of you, you’ll be glad you tackled the paperwork.
If you haven’t completed a FAFSA yet, the deadline is June 30.
Learn more about paying for college and financial aid by reading The College Solution.