Students not applying for financial aid - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Students not applying for financial aid

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Student loan pamphlets Student loan pamphlets
John Wood Community College stress the importance of financial aid. John Wood Community College stress the importance of financial aid.
A FAFSA form A FAFSA form
Students in the library. Students in the library.
Student working on the FAFSA. Student working on the FAFSA.

According to a report by the personal finance site "Nerd-Wallet," high school students have passed on more than an estimated 2 billion dollars in college financial aid this year.

Officials at John Wood Community College in Quincy said they see it all too often where students forget or simply don't fill out the FAFSA potentially passing up on free money.

Seth Moyers, now a sophomore at John Wood, qualifies for the Illinois MAP grant and Pell grant which is money set aside for students to go to school.

The money is distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, but Moyers waited too long to apply his first year in college.

He said he won't make the same mistake as he moves on to a four year university next year, which has higher tuition costs.

"If I don't get all that I need, I don't have to take out as much loans as I would originally without this grant money from FAFSA," said Moyers.

Moyers explained the process is intimidating at first but he said it's worth it because you never know if you qualify for free federal money until you apply.

Billy Schaffer, the director of admissions at John Wood, said while the FAFSA application process is intimidating, it is becoming easier.

He said your tax information is now able to link to the FAFSA website with the IRS data retrieval tool making the process faster.

"It'll allow them to file quicker and hopefully not miss some of those state deadlines because that's usually the deadlines that are in place, state government deadlines," explained Shaffer. "In Illinois, once that pool of money runs out, they cut it off."

Schaffer said that pool of money covers need based grant and scholarship programs.

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