Students lack financial info

Aspen Gage

College is here to open doors, present endless opportunities and expose its students to the real world. However, before real-world responsibilities become regular old responsibilities, college students owe one task to their university—and that’s paying off their tuition. Most cannot do so out-of-pocket, which is why 50 percent of undergraduate students applied for financial aid at UK this past school year, according to College Factual.

On UK’s campus, there are plenty of areas outside of general state-funded scholarships and grants that will provide aid to students. Most colleges at UK offer their own scholarships and grants to students in their majors. Available financial aid is not a problem here; no more than at any other flagship school.

So why does it seem that there are still tons of students not receiving the financial aid they deserve? The answer is pretty simple: students are not applying for it because they don’t know about it. UK has roughly 30,000 undergraduate students, a number that is easy to read but overwhelming when it comes to pairing them off to financial aid counselors. Professors and peers alike mention the importance of seeing your financial aid advisor. However, there is a deterrence in the flow of that information to the students who truly need it.

According to the National College Access Network, 85 percent of four-year college students receive financial aid. However, 20 percent of that same group of students failed to apply for the FAFSA again the following year. Why? Lack of education on available aid.

Some students go their entire four years without setting eyes on their financial aid advisors until there is an issue. For biology senior Jacob Barnes, that issue came in the form of not being able to graduate.

“I’ve never had a financial hold on my account, so you can imagine the surprise felt when I saw all those red exclamation marks,” Barnes said. In Barnes case, a quick trip to his financial aid advisors office solved the situation in an hours time.

If UK wants to increase its retention rate and keep our university at the level it should be, there needs to be a bigger push to educate students about the financial aid opportunities available to them. There should never be a student worried about not being able to pay their tuition bill when the money’s there.

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