It is now the end of October and every year around this time there is a mad rush to beat the deadlines to get FREE MONEY for college. ACT NOW and claim your money!!
High school graduates missed out on as much as $2.7 billion in free federal grant money in the past academic year, according to an analysis from NerdWallet. This money went unclaimed mainly because of incomplete or unsubmitted Free Application for Federal Student Aid forms.
The FAFSA is the key to unlocking college aid, including federal direct loans and Pell Grants, the largest source of federal funds for college. Unlike a student loan, grant money doesn’t have to be paid back.
In 2014, a total of 1,445,732 high school graduates didn’t fill out a FAFSA application, our analysis shows. Of those, we believe 747,579 of them would have been Pell eligible: Submitting the FAFSA could have earned them federal Pell Grant money. This figure includes all high school graduates, although some will choose not to attend college immediately or at all. Our calculations included the grads who don’t go on to college to show the scope of students who would be eligible for federal aid if they did apply.
The average amount of money left on the table per eligible high school graduate who didn’t apply was $1,861. The two places with the most unclaimed funds were Mississippi at $2,639 per grad and Washington, D.C., at $2,513. High school graduates also left on the table an average of $2,000 or more in Pell Grant money per grad in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
The lowest percentage of incomplete FAFSAs among U.S. high school graduates was 30% in Washington D.C. Incompletion rates among high school students in the U.S. averaged 45% among all states and Washington, D.C. In Utah, 70% of eligible high school graduates did not complete the FAFSA for 2014-2015, the highest among all states.