Nearly $2.9 billion in free federal grant money went unclaimed because students did not complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA.
The findings were revealed in a report released by NerdScholar, an advocacy organization that counsels students and their parents about their options for financing college.
Gianna Sen-Gupta, an analyst with the group’s higher education division, said that, in 2013, nearly 47 percent of high school graduates didn’t even bother to complete FAFSA, which is the “required first step that could’ve earned them Pell Grant money, which, unlike student loans, does not need to be paid back.”
Sen-Gupta said that, in many instances, students simply believed that college was unaffordable and decided on that reason alone to forgo attending. In that pool of students many were first-generation minority students.
“Minority students who also come from low-income families but are not applying for financial aid are exactly the types of students any unused Pell Grant money could benefit,” said Sen-Gupta. “These are the students we’re encouraging to apply for financial aid by completing the FAFSA as soon as possible.”
As the season for FAFSA completion is well underway, NerdScholar has been busy educating parents and students about the advantages of applying for financial assistance. <Read more.>