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Giving Compass' Take:
· According to Education Dive, colleges are beginning to advertise their affordability and easy access to financial aid in order to reach a broader audience and attract more low-income students.
· What are some obstacles students face when acquiring financial aid?
Students are leaving financial aid dollars on the table. That's preventing some from enrolling in colleges they don't realize they can afford.
"Often they don't know, or are confused by, the options," said James Applegate, a visiting professor at the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University and an expert in college access.
Last year, some 661,000 low-income high school graduates failed to cash in on $2.6 billion in financial aid because they didn't complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). That's according to an October analysis by NerdWallet that found each of those students could have been eligible for an average of nearly $4,000 in Pell Grant money.
While more than half of high school graduates were eligible for federal aid, including those who didn't go to college right away, over one-third of graduates didn't apply for it, the report found.
Red tape around financial aid is one barrier. One-third (32%) of students who didn't complete a FAFSA thought they weren't eligible for aid, according to a federal study published last month. Another 28% didn't want to incur debt, while 23% said they didn't have enough information about how to do the paperwork, and 24% said they either did not know they could complete a FAFSA or thought the form was too much work.
Read the full article about college affordability by James Paterson at Education Dive.