FAFSA Fails to Meet Students’ Needs at UMD

By Rachel Kalusin
Arts & Entertainment Section Editor

Many assume that college students’ family members are paying for their tuition and rent expenses, but that is often not the case. There are a variety of ways students pay their tuition, including through scholarships, grants and loans.

According to the Federal Student Aid website, the amount of financial aid one will receive depends on family income, year in school, enrollment status and the cost of attendance. Although the federal government does distribute grants to students in need, many students believe FAFSA does not accurately assess their situation.

“I am definitely paying a lot for school, not as much because I am [a Resident Assistant] so I do not have to worry about rent,” said junior communication major Omar Joyce. “FAFSA doesn’t do a good job because they essentially say that I can pay full price, but my mom has three other kids to take care of and my dad doesn’t contribute.”

Leah Teshome, a junior psychology major, does not believe FAFSA looks at the other expenses families need to pay outside of college.

“My problem with FAFSA in general is they act like college is the only thing parents have to pay for,” Teshome said. “I did not receive any grants from the school this year, and my brother is also in college. If college [were] the only thing my parents had to pay for that would be fine, but obviously it is not.”

Kaleena Dwyer, a junior journalism major, is paying for college herself with grants and loans, and is having a hard time affording books this year.

“My sophomore year I had enough financial aid for books and food because I lived on campus, which is a lot cheaper,” Dwyer said. “When I moved into [South Campus] Commons, the remaining money I had all went to rent, so this year I had a very hard time buying books.”

“I try not to ask my family for too much money because they have a lot of financial problems too, but this year I’ve had to,” she said.

South Campus Commons is an on-campus apartment complex in which many upperclassmen choose to live. Although Commons is cheaper than other off-campus options like Terrapin Row, Landmark and The Varsity, many students still struggle to afford their rent. Dwyer said Commons is already quite expensive, and they plan to raise the rent next year, which may force her to find a cheaper option.

Although FAFSA helps many students on campus, a number of students do not believe they are receiving enough support. Students who are ineligible for financial aid struggle to pay for college, while students who do receive aid are still unable to afford rent and books needed for school.

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