Appealing for financial aid: students petition for grants, loans

Taral Patel, News Editor

After the initial euphoria or gloom after college decisions came out and with the economy slowly coming back, record college enrollment and the executive branch’s push for increasing student aid helped fuel huge amounts of financial aid appeals.

Families have increasingly opened their finances to cover their children’s college tuition, but college tuition has been going up faster than the rate of inflation. While the economy is slowly recovering, college savings plans have changed for students and parents.

“Money is a huge factor in my college decisions. I find it very sad that even in this supposedly advanced society and age; many people in our country are left without a proper education due to the lack of financial resources,” senior Eddie Gonzalez-Stahl said.

Stahl has applied for financial aid through the federal government because he believes education is a significant factor in deciding which college he often those loans might be very hard to pay off and it might not even be worth it.

Senior Cherrise Onuigbo also appealed to John Hopkins University for more financial aid after being admitted in early May.

“My college decision was basically based from what my parents could afford the academic caliber, and the people that are going there. I had a lot of options, but only three were in the price range so that’s what I picked from,” Onuigbo said. “I did an appeal for Johns Hopkins and they rejected it. They actually gave me a lot less money for it so I went with another option.”

Certain categories of financial aid are always made available by the federal government to any student who exhibits appropriate need. For example, colleges and universities can offer federal Stafford loans and Pell grants to students who exhibit sufficient financial need. However, with an increasingly partisan Congress, future students may not have the same low interest rates typically offered on federal student loans.

Most students and families appealing for more financial aid want grants rather than loans while Pell grants can only offer a maximum of $5,550. Families wanting more aid have to directly appeal to the university’s set-aside aid funds.

“I believe that students should be able to attend a school that will grant them the proper education at an affordable and fair price,” Stahl said. “Education is the catalyst to further our country and society.”