Survey Finds More Parents Will Fill Out the FAFSA this Year
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By Kristen Kuchar

September 23, 2020

A recent survey from Discover Student Loans found that there are several changes to how parents are approaching financial aid this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For starters, nearly 40% of parents who didn’t plan to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as the FAFSA, to apply for federal student aid, now say they will as a result of the pandemic. 

The FAFSA is the application that allows students to qualify for help paying for college. This includes grants, scholarships, eligibility to participate in a work-study program, and federal student loans, which come with better benefits than private student loans.

Other findings include:

  • 48% of parents report losing income as a result of the pandemic
  • 44% of parents say they can’t afford to pay for as much of their child’s education as they had originally planned
  • Of parents worried about paying for college, 53% are concerned their child is not receiving enough financial aid, which is an increase of 9% from a survey before the pandemic
  • 26% of families said they would appeal their student’s financial aid package given COVID-19, more than double the pre-pandemic prevalence of financial aid appeals

“Our survey found that 48% of parents lost income as a result of the pandemic, and 44% said they can’t afford to pay for as much of their child’s education as they had originally planned,” said Manny Chagas, vice president of Discover Student Loans in a press release. “Those are significant changes at a time when families are thinking about college and exploring funding options. It underscores the importance of filling out the FAFSA each year.”

In a previous survey, Discover Student Loans found that half of parents believed the FAFSA was available year-round and only 24% of parents correctly identified the FAFSA application becomes available in October. The FAFSA becomes available October 1st and should be filled out as soon as possible to increase your chances of qualifying for aid. Many types of financial aid are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until the funds are depleted.

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