Common Misconceptions We make too much money to get financial aid: There is no income cut-off to qualify for federal student aid. Many factors besides income—from the size of your family to the age of your older parent—are taken into account. Your eligibility is determined by a complicated mathematical formula, not by your parents’ income alone. And remember: when you fill out the Free Application forFederal Student Aid (FAFSA), you’re also automatically applying for funds from your state, and possibly from your school as well. Don’t make assumptions about what you’ll get—fill out the application and find out.
Common Misconceptions The FAFSA is too hard to complete, I just don’t understand it: The FAFSA is easier than ever, especially if you fill it out online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. There are detailed instructions for every question, and the form walks you through step by step, asking only the questions that apply to you. If you need help, there are many options. There are worksheets available so that you can prepare your documents ahead of time and then it is as simple as filling in the blanks on the electronic form. You may also call the Central Processor’s office toll-free at:1-800-4-FED-AID. And remember, the FAFSA and all these sources of advice are FREE.
Common Misconceptions We can afford our state school, but we know that private education is out of reach for us: Although the sticker price on a private school might be higher, don’t rule it out just yet. Private colleges often offer more financial aid to attract students from every income level. Higher college expenses also mean a better chance of demonstrating financial need. You may find that you qualify for more financial aid putting public and private schools on a more equal playing field.
Common Misconceptions You want me to sell everything I own in order to pay for my child’s education: A family's share of college costs is calculated based mostly on income, not assets such as savings or home equity. Although some colleges will consider home equity in calculating for institutional grants, no financial aid office expects parents to sell their home and clean out their retirement for their child’s education.