CHICAGO — It’s the time of year when adults in higher education start waking up in the morning with persistent thoughts of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.
“Fill out your FAFSA” is a winter tradition that affects nearly all adults with kids who will start or continue their college studies in the fall. The dreaded form must be filled out in order to qualify for financial aid to attend college — both federal loans and grants, and, in some states, scholarships and other forms of cash assistance.
Did I say “affects”? I meant the FAFSA afflicts.
It causes special mental and emotional pain in millions of people across the country as it confounds students and parents with no college-going experience.
Last year, the National Center for Education Statistics released an updated brief detailing the reasons why students failed to fill out their FAFSA. Many students simply thought they could afford college without financial aid or (in nearly the same numbers) thought they or their families wouldn’t qualify for it.
Other students said they didn’t want to take on student loan debt, didn’t know they were eligible to apply for aid, didn’t…
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