5 Myths About Financial Aid
There are so many myths about financial aid and paying for college. Most of the myths boil down to a common theme: I won’t get the money I need to pay for college and will graduate with a ton of debt. We are here to say that this is simply not true! Here are a few of the common myths about financial aid and paying for college:
Student Loan Debt is always a bad thing
For many, the word “loan” is a dirty word. A modest amount of student loan debt is not the worst thing in the world. Generally, you do not want your monthly student loan debt to exceed 10% of your take-home salary. So, if you are making $4,000 per month, you do not want your student loan payment to be above $400. Yes, you should prioritize outside scholarships and need-based financial aid before turning towards students loans, but student loans are sometimes a smart option.
I won’t qualify for financial aid
Many students think that there is a specific salary cut-off for financial aid. This is not true–there is no absolute cut-off that says you won’t qualify for financial aid. In fact, parental salary is just one of many factors that colleges consider in their financial aid formula. The best way to estimate your need-based financial aid package is through the Net Price Calculator. This free tool will estimate need-based aid at any college or university in the U.S.
Top colleges and universities do not offer merit scholarships
It is true that many top colleges and universities, including the Ivy League schools, Stanford, and MIT, do not offer merit scholarships. These institutions will only award need-based financial aid for students. However, there are still many top colleges that do offer merit scholarship for students.
I won’t win scholarships because I am not a straight-A student
Contrary to popular belief, scholarships are not all focused on grades and transcripts. Instead, many scholarships seek to support actors, artists, athletes, leadership, volunteers, writers, and students from various backgrounds. The Scholarships360 Scholarship Search Tool will help you find personalized scholarships (including many that are not only for straight-As students).
Everyone should go to college
For many students, college is a great option. However, there are compelling reasons to not go to college, especially if you will be saddled with unbearable student debt. For some students, it might make more sense to spend two years at a community college before transferring to a four year college. For other students a career-focused boot camp might make more sense (and some bootcamps do not require any tuition dollars through an Income Share Agreement).
- Read our “How to Pay for College” primer.
- Complete the Net Price Calculator for all colleges on your list.