Alabama Possible, a state-wide education advocacy group, is promoting its Cash For College campaign to remind prospective college students to take advantage of all the resources available to help fund their educations.
In order to receive financial aid, students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their eligibility for both federally and state-funded aid.
And that aid is available to just about everybody.
“The vast majority of families who fill out the FAFSA get some form of help paying for college,” Kristina Scott, Alabama Possible’s Executive Director, told Yellowhammer.
Federal and state governments, in combination with institutions, offer all kinds of financial aid through grants, scholarships, work study programs, and loans.
Federal Pell grants are the main form of need-based aid.
“50 percent of Alabama public high school seniors who file their financial aid form will qualify for the Pell grant,” Scott said. “The average amount is $3,737. It could be as much as $5,920.”
Scott also stressed that aid is accessible to students of all income levels and academic abilities.
“Even if students have merit-based scholarships – we see this all the time – what a lot of families don’t realize is that [a full-tuition scholarship] doesn’t cover housing, books, and the meal plan and so even if your student has a full-tuition scholarship, there are so many other costs that go along with paying for college that it’s important to fill out the FAFSA. Students who fill it out after their college’s priority deadline get half as much financial aid as students who fill it out earlier.”
For most major Alabama universities, the priority application deadline is March 1.
Get more information about available aid and the FAFSA here on Alabama Possible’s website.