Many prospective college students and their parents are unaware they could qualify for federal financial aid, which may lead some to either take out bigger private loans to fund their schooling or not enroll in higher education at all.
A recent survey of 5,000 high school students and parents by Royall & Co., a consulting firm for enrollment and fundraising management, found that many respondents believed their household income was too high to obtain a Pell Grant or low-interest federal loan. Even in the bottom income bracket ($60,000 or less), 27% of students and 34% of parents didn’t think they could secure aid.
“In contrast, according to an EAB (Royall’s parent company) analysis of National Center for Education Statistics data, 84% of students with household incomes of less than $60,000 received Pell Grants—and many more students in this income bracket qualified for subsidized student loans,” a spokesperson for Royall said in a release.
In addition, the survey discovered that families in the lowest income bracket are more reluctant to fill out the required Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Many of these families also don’t realize how much time is needed to process applications and end up submitting their forms too late to receive monies before tuition and other costs, such as buying course materials and school supplies, are due.
The full report is available from Royall.