How College Financial Aid Works

Financial aid is not an easy puzzle to solve, and a few facts seem to contribute to that complexity.

1. College is expensive
2. Young people can lack financial literacy
3. High school juniors and seniors are often consumed with admission requirements rather than money

For these reasons and more, college financial aid can remain murky for too many students in terms of what’s out there, applications processes–even the difference between a loan and a grant.

The following infographic from Online Colleges helps to clarify some of the mess, and a few statistics stand out:

  • In 2007-2008 the average amount of aid received by students was $9,100.
  • In 2010-2011 the average amount of aid received by students was $12,400 out of which $6,500 didn’t need to be repaid.
  • Every year over 1.5 million qualifying students miss out on Pell grants because they didn’t fill out the FAFSA.
  • FastWeb lists more than 1.5 million scholarships worth more than $3.4 billion.