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Don't Fall for these Myths About Financial Aid

(from the Federal Student Aid website, U.S. Department of Education, 

"I'm not going to bother filling ou the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) because..."


"... my parents make too much money, so I won't qualify for aid."

Reality: 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 mathematical formula, not by your parents' income alone. And remember: when you fill out the FAFSA, you're also automatically applying for funds from your state, and possibly from your school as well. In fact, some schools won't even consider you for their scholarships (including academic scholarships) until you've submitted a FAFSA.  Don't make assumptions about what you'll get-- fill out the application and find out. 


"...only student with good grades get financial aid."

Reality: While a high grade point average will help a student get into a good school and may help with academic scholarships, most of the federal student aid programs do not take a student's grades into consideration. Provided a student maintains satisfactory academic progress in his or her program of study, federal student aid will help a student with an average academic record complete his or her education.


"...I'm too old to get financial aid."

Reality: Funds from federal student aid programs are awarded on the basis of financial need, not on the basis of age. Adult students can get financial aid, so be sure to fill out the FAFSA. 


"...the form is too hard to fill out."

Reality: The FAFSA is easier than ever, especially if you fill it out online at 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, you can access real-time, private online chat with a customer service representative.  If you're filling out a paper FAFSA, you can get help from a high school counselor, the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend, or from our toll-free number: 1-800-4-FED-AID. And remember, the FAFSA and all of these resources are free.  


Southwest Counselors and Coordinators are also available to answer your FAFSA questions!