University of Virginia

How your FAFSA can be used against you

From our October newsletter

It’s understandable if parents are a bit jaded these days about college.  It seems like the schools hold all the cards – they don’t even tell you what it will cost you until after you are in, and then you only have a few weeks to accept. 

Talk about no transparency!  Admissions are a black box – incredibly qualified students are passed over in favor of others.  Why?  We figure there are reasons but it’s all so secretive.

Now there’s a shocking revelation about the FAFSAAccording to a story in Inside Higher Ed, colleges are using the FAFSA in a way it was never intended both for admissions and awarding aid.

Remember, the goal of a college in awarding financial aid is to give you enough money to say yes, but not one dollar more.  They have consultants, they have enrollment management programs, it’s all quite sophisticated.  They know you better than you know yourself it seems.

So back to the FAFSA.  When you submit the FAFSA, you need to list the schools you will send the information to.  You can list up to 10.  But how do you list them, in what order, and could that possibly be important?

We’ve been telling parents for some time that the order might matter, and we offer suggestions and strategies on how you might consider listing your schools, just in case.  Here’s why it matters.

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