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Financial Aid Myths vs. Facts

Some common beliefs about financial aid just aren't true

When considering college costs, many families and students may come across incorrect information about the financial aid application and approval process.  Every financial situation is unique, including yours. With some research, you will likely find that financial aid is not only available to you, it's really a good option.

Check out our Top 10 Financial Aid Myths and the facts that debunk them:

Myth #1: My family won't qualify for need-based grants so I shouldn't bother completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Myth #2: If you live at home, you'll save money.

Myth #3: My grades aren't good enough to qualify me for financial aid.

Myth #4: Financial aid is available, but there just isn't enough of it.

Myth #5: If financial aid doesn't cover the cost of my tuition expenses, I cannot attend school.

Myth #6: I cannot concentrate on my studies if I work.

Myth #7: Private colleges are way too expensive.

Myth #8: I have money set aside for college so I don't need/I would not qualify for financial aid.

Myth #9: Loans are not a form of financial aid.

Myth #10: A financial aid package cannot be changed. 



Myth #1

My family won't qualify for need-based grants so I shouldn't bother completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The FAFSA is the application for federal need-based grants, but many families have been surprised to find they were eligible for state and/or institutional grants after completing the process. The FAFSA is also used to determine eligibility for federal work-study and federal student loans, so all families are encouraged to complete the application.

Myth #2

If you live at home, you'll save money.

It's easy to fall for this one because we often forget the expenses involved with commuting. There are hard costs like fuel and parking, as well as soft costs like the travel time you lose for studying or working, and the wear and tear on your vehicle. If you live on campus, you may be eligible for a college-based job and you can spend time on academics instead of travel.

Myth #3

My grades aren't good enough for me to qualify for financial aid.

There are merit-based financial aid programs, for which maintaining good grades is a prerequisite, and but there are also need-based financial aid programs. For many federal grant and loan programs, test scores and grades are not initially considered.

Myth #4

Financial aid is available, but there just isn't enough of it.

Point Park students received over $79 million in financial aid during the 2013-2014 academic year, with the majority coming from either institutional grants or loans. Some form of financial assistance is available for nearly every student. Knowing where and how to apply for it is the key to a better financial position.

Myth #5

If financial aid doesn't cover the cost of my tuition expenses, I cannot attend school.

There are many types of financial aid: grants, scholarships, work-study and loans. These programs are available through the federal and state governments, Point Park University, and private agencies. Not every student will have the cost of an education covered through grants and scholarships alone, but most students are able to finance their education through a variety of financial aid programs, including student loans.

Myth #6

I cannot concentrate on my studies if I work.

Actually, those students who work a reasonable amount show better academic progress and achievement than those who work too much or who never hold a job at all.

Myth #7

Private colleges are way too expensive.

Public universities may cost less per year, but other factors should be considered to get a complete picture. At Point Park you are able to take courses in your major beginning your freshman year, and have more individual attention and personal advising to keep you on track to graduate on time. At some state universities, students need more than four years to graduate. Students may not have the option of taking courses in their major until their sophomore year, finding out only then that they prefer another major.

Myth #8

I have money set aside for college so I don't need/I would not qualify for financial aid.

Saving money is always a good thing to do, especially when it comes to your education. Any savings you have can reduce how much loans you would have to pay with interest. Keep in mind, financial aid awards are based on a number of factors. Savings is just one of the considerations used in the financial aid formula.

Myth #9

Loans are not a form of financial aid.

"Financial aid" is defined as money used to support a worthy person or cause.  In this case, the person is a student and the cause is pursuing a college degree.  Loans are considered part of financial aid because they help to lessen the overall cost, which otherwise may have been paid out-of-pocket by the student.  If you are awarded a student loan in a financial aid award package and do not wish to borrow the entire amount, you always have the right to cancel or reduce your loan.  

Myth #10

A financial aid package cannot be changed.

Your financial aid package is based upon information you provided at the time you filed your FAFSA.  If your family has extenuating circumstances, you may be eligible to have your file reviewed based upon the change in circumstances.  To learn more about a recalculation of your eligibility you can contact the Office of Financial Aid and review the Special Conditions Worksheet.

Questions? Contact Us

Point Park has a dedicated staff of professional counselors to help you with every step of the financial aid application process. Please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance at 412.392.3930. We are here to guide you!