For some students at Murray State, financial aid is a vital lifeline for their school efforts and a method to reduce financial burden.
For as long as the University has been open, it has offered financial aid on everything from textbooks to housing.
One such method of procuring financial aid would be FAFSA. FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a form that can be filled out annually by undergraduate and graduate students to determine their eligibility for certain aid, such as the Pell Grant, Federal Student Loans, and the Federal Work-Study program.
Federal Student Aid, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the largest provider of student financial aid in the nation, according to Federal Aid’s official website.
“At the office of Federal Student Aid, our 1,200 employees help make college education possible for every dedicated mind by providing more than $150 billion in federal grants, loans and work-study funds each year to more than 13 million students paying for college or career school,” it’s website stated.
FAFSA was brought about by the Higher Education Act of 1965, which began to give schools the resources they needed to aid students in gaining an education at certain facilities.
All of these aids are integral to enrollment at Murray State.
Justin Carman, freshman from Irvington, Ky., said, dealing with the FAFSA was difficult for him.
“It was a really long process and a lot of it didn’t cover what I needed it to cover,” he said.
According to Carman, his sister went to a different school and all of her costs were covered by financial aid.
Carman was unable to get the federal aid to cover everything and pointed out how discriminant the system may seem.
He went on to talk about how loans would help, but they can be quite dangerous to students.
“They can bog you down in debt,” he said.
Much of the FAFSA is undergoing change at Murray State.
Lori Mitchum, director of the Office of Financial Aid said the FAFSA process has remained the same.
“It is better for Kentucky residents to complete the FAFSA in January if they are Pell eligible in order to receive the state grant,” she said.
Mitchum said federal dollars are always available, but once the state runs out of state grant dollars, then students could lose out on the opportunity to receive those funds, and since federal funds are always available, it isn’t competitive.
“It is best to always apply early,” she said.
Mitchum said if any student needs assistance, they can stop by the office of Financial Aid for help with the FAFSA or understanding their financial aid package.
Story by Teddy Martin, Staff writer