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Financial Aid Awareness Month – February 2023

Financial Aid Awareness Month is observed in February. Many of us want to receive a formal education but when it comes to paying school fees, we are overwhelmed by the costs. That’s where financial aid comes into play. Throughout this month, information is shared with the hope to help people understand the steps required to access aid and the options available. Many Schools encourage FAFSA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) so if you are interested in attaining a higher education after high school and are curious about how you can cut some costs. This month is the perfect time to get to know a little more about your college or university funding process.

History of Financial Aid Awareness Month

So you may be wondering, what exactly is financial aid and how can we access it? In the United States, it is a type of funding made available exclusively to students within the country who may be interested in attending a post-secondary education be it college or university. This funding is really useful and helps to cover several costs for students.

Financial aid has been around for a long time. Around the 16th Century, it began as philanthropy from the rich members of the society to the poor. In subsequent years in the 1950s, colleges were endowed with scholarship funds and eventually had to develop their own formulas on how to hand out these funds. Then in 1964, the Economic Opportunity Act was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. He established this act as a way to provide students in need of funding for their education through a college work-study program where the institution provided for its students’ part-time employment while they pursued their studies.

In the following year President Lyndon passed the Higher Education Act of 1965. This new law established the U.S. federal government as the primary provider of financial aid. Since the enactment of this law, the bid to use financial aid to support students has avalanched into a sea of bureaucracy in which many people get lost.

However let us not be alarmed as there are many options to pick from if one chooses this route to support their education from student loans to student grants, work-study, tax credits, and other state programs. To provide crucial information to students and families about access to federal, state, and institutional student aid, Financial Aid Awareness Month has been initiated.

Financial Aid Awareness Month timeline

1965
The Higher Education Act

The act introduces the framework for many components of financial aid.

1978
Significant Changes in Financial Aid Policy

The Middle Income Student Assistance Act helps undergraduates regardless of need.

1980
Grants On The Rise

Over 2.7 million students receive the Pell Grants, many from families making $20,000.

2015
Fifty Years Later

85% of full-time undergraduate students receive financial aid.

Financial Aid Awareness Month FAQs

What is FAFSA®?

FAFSA® is short for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The form is used to apply for federal student aid, as well as financial aid from the government, colleges, and universities.

Who is eligible for FAFSA®?

FAFSA® is available to all U.S. citizens or an eligible non-citizen that has a valid social security number and can demonstrate a financial need. All students are encouraged to apply even if they feel they are not eligible.

Do you need to pay back FAFSA®?

FAFSA® in itself is actually a free form and not the financial aid itself so you do not have to pay it back.

How to Observe Financial Aid Awareness Month

  1. Share Information

    I’m sure we all have a relative or friend looking for the opportunity to continue into higher education but don’t have the necessary information to navigate the aid process. This is as good a time as ever to share any relevant information that may assist them.

  2. Learn More

    This month there is most likely going to be a stampede of information about financial aid options, so if you’re a prospective student, this is your opportunity to educate yourself on the options you have.

  3. Complete the FAFSA

    One of the good things about completing the FAFSA® form is that it’s free of charge. So there is no harm in trying. Filing it out can only help you determine if you’re eligible for any of the federal, state, and college financial aid programs.

5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Financial Aid Resources

  1. Aid comes in different forms

    It can be a college grant, aid from the federal and state governments, or a scholarship.

  2. You can calculate your loan online

    Access how much aid you can get based on your family’s income and your school average.

  3. Sometimes it is free money

    Grants and Scholarships aren’t paid back if you meet the requirements, unlike student loans.

  4. It’s pretty common

    Over 80% of students have received student loans, grants, or some kind of financial support.

  5. Keep your grades up

    Your G.P.A. needs to be between a 4.0 to a 2.0 to be eligible for most financial aid.

Why Financial Aid Awareness Month is Important

  1. It raises awareness for financial aid

    Families and students get to know about the possibilities of federal and state student aid programs and information on how they can gain access. Do your bit and spread awareness today.

  2. It gives us ideas on how to cut college costs

    The grants, loans, and aid are one thing but this month also spotlights interesting ways on how students can reduce spending by learning about student discounts. They can also learn about other ways to save money while earning their degree.

  3. It educates us on how stuff works

    There are still many people who have been granted financial aid and do not have enough information and knowledge about what they signed up for. This is a good time as ever to find out about your current status and make more comprehensive decisions concerning your future.

Financial Aid Awareness Month dates

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