Students encouraged to get to know FAFSA

Alexia Harris

It’s something every student is encouraged to do. It can decrease the amount of money coming of out of students’ pockets. It provides eligible students with free money.

Last year, a study conducted by the American Council on Education estimated that during the 2003-04 academic year, 1.5 million aid-eligible students missed the opportunity to receive assistance because they did not fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as FAFSA.

“I think that number is misleading because it makes it sound like students aren’t receiving financial aid,” said Sylvia Bustard, associate director of student financial aid. “The majority of Kent State students fill out the form.”

It is important for students to complete the FAFSA because it identifies possible financial aid sources available to students, Bustard added.

“Even if students think they may not be eligible for funding, it doesn’t hurt to fill out the form,” she said.

Connie Dubick, associate director of student financial aid, said students are not required to fill out the form.

Bustard said students who hope to receive federal aid must complete the form.

“Most state programs also require the form to be completed,” she said. “But, if students aren’t interested in federal or state aid, some private loans and scholarships do not require it be completed.”

The American Council on Education reported that 29 percent of students who did not file a FAFSA received aid from other sources, such as employment, institutional non-need-based aid, and private grants and loans.ÿ

“There are probably communities where college is not a reality, like farming communities for example, and students don’t fill it out because they aren’t looking at college,” Dubick said.

Dubick said the office’s goal for continuing students is for them to leave in May with an idea of what aid they will receive for next academic year.

“It’s not too late to complete the FAFSA for 2007-08,” Bustard said. “But do it as soon as possible.”

Contact student affairs reporter Alexia Harris at [email protected].