How To Succeed in College/Financial Aid

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Financial Aid and Persistence[edit]

Many students receiving financial aid are underfunded. One study found that students in Ohio had uncovered needs of $1,400 or more per year, making it difficult to complete their education.[1] Research suggests that financial aid, particularly more comprehensive financial aid, reduces dropping out and increases persistence and retention in college.

Financial Aid[edit]

One of the biggest factors inhibiting college attendance is the price tag, both of credit hours and all the extras, like textbooks. Some donors make it possible for people coming from less affluent families to attend college but sometimes even with this financial aid, college is still impossible. The US Government, through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, offers financial aid through grants and loans. The FAFSA can be challenging to complete, but many high school counselors are now learning how to complete it, and more often than not, the counselor at the college you are interested in would be more than happy to help you. 66% of all undergraduates going to college received some sort of financial aid from the government.[2]

The Department of Education noted that for the year 2007-2008, “For those who received any aid, the total average amount received was $9,100.”[3] This number only reflects what was awarded through the FAFSA. Many high school and college students fail to apply for any outside scholarships, or those awarded to students that meet qualifications, like good leaders, excellent grades, or minority status.

Student Loans and Debt[edit]

Recent studies have shown that the amount of student debt accumulated by college students has gone up in recent years. According to The Project on Student Debt at the Institute for College Access and Success, students who graduated from college in 2010 with student loans owed an average of $25,250, up 5 percent from the previous year. [4] About two-thirds of the class of 2010 graduated with student debt, though the debt examined in the report does not include loans taken out by parents. The report is based on data from more than 1,000 colleges, representing half of all public and private nonprofit four-year schools. The average amount of debt would be even higher if the report included profit-making schools, where almost all students take out loans and, according to federal data, borrow about 45 percent more than students at nonprofits.[4] In a survey of more than 1,000 colleges, 98 colleges said their 2010 graduating class owed an average of more than $35,000, and 73 colleges reported that more than 90% of students graduated with some amount of debt. It’s estimated that two-thirds of college seniors who graduated in 2010 had student loan debt.[5] High-debt states are concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest, while low-debt states are mainly in the West.


  1. Bettinger, Eric. 2004. “How Financial Aid Affects Persistence.” National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series No. 10242. Retrieved (
  2. "Financial Aid." UT by the NUMBERS. The University of Tampa. Web. 13 Mar. 2012. <>.
  3. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2009). 2007-08 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS: 08) Student Financial Aid Estimates for 2007- 08, Selected Findings.
  4. a b "Student Debt and the Class of 2010." Institute for College Access and Success: Project on Student Debt. n.d. Web. 5 Feb. 2012.
  5. Ellis, Blake. "Average Student Loan Debt Tops $25,000." CNNMoney. CNN. 3 Nov. 2011. Web. 5 Feb. 2012.