Students considering federal financial aid to help them pay for college will frequently come across several common myths in their research. Here are the top seven myths about federal student aid that are not true, as confirmed by the Department of Education.
Myth #1: My family makes too much money for me to qualify for aid.
The truth: There is no income cut-off to qualify for student aid. Besides income, there are many factors that determine your eligibility (i.e. the size of your family, the age of your family members, etc.). Eligibility is determined by a mathematical formula. Do not make assumptions about how much aid you can get – fill out the FAFSA in order to find out exactly what you qualify for.
Myth #2: I need to file taxes before complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The truth: You can use estimated information on your FAFSA so you will be able to submit it before you file taxes. It is advised to base your estimates on last year’s tax return. Once you do file your taxes, you can log back in and easily update the information. You may even be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically import you tax information into your FAFSA.
Myth #3: The FAFSA is too hard to fill out.
The truth: This is a very common misconception, but the FAFSA has come a long way since its conception. It is now easier than ever to complete and online. The FAFSA used “skip logic,” so you are only asked the questions that are relevant to you. Additionally, if you have filed your taxes, you can quickly and automatically transfer your tax return data into your FAFSA. Thanks to improvements like these, the average time to fully complete the FAFSA is now less than 21 minutes. If you get stuck on any portion of the form, help can be reached via e-mail, phone, or live web chat.
Myth #4: My grades aren’t good enough for me to get aid.
The truth: While a high grade point average (GPA) will admit a student into a good school and assist with academic scholarships, most of the federal student aid programs do not take a student’s marks into consideration. Provided that a student maintains satisfactory academic progress in his or her program of study, federal student aid will help a student with an average academic record complete his or her education.
Myth #5: My ethnicity or age makes me ineligible for aid.
The truth: There are basic eligibility requirements that can be found at http://studentaid.gov/eligibility, however, ethnicity and age are not put into consideration.
Myth #6: I support myself, so I do not need to include parent information on the FAFSA.
The truth: Even if you financially support yourself and file your own taxes, you may still be considered a dependent student for federal student aid purposes. Your answers to questions on the FAFSA determine whether you are considered a dependent or independent student. If you are an independent, you will not need to include your parent’s information on your FAFSA. If you are dependent, you need to provide your parent’s information.
Myth #7: I already completed the FAFSA, so I don’t need to complete it again.
The truth: You need to complete the FAFSA every year you plan to attend college. A lot of the information you previously entered will be auto-populated on the application to make it fast and easy to complete multiple times.
Please contact VIU’s Office of Financial Aid for more information about regarding federal student aid at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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