FAFSA and the Middle Class | 10.20.09

Posted in FAFSA, Federal Work-Study, Financial Aid, Scholarships By Kristin Morris

Tuesday Rant – Opinion Piece

Here’s something you will never hear legions of die-hard fans chanting at a home game. We’re an average team – neither terrible or great. We’re somewhere in the middle – that’s not open for debate! Woo hoo!

No one wants to be in the middle yet the middle is where many of us find ourselves, the middle class that is. The middle class is where most Americans reside.  It’s where money gets tight.  And when it comes to financial aid, being stuck in the middle earnings category is like a death sentence. Ok, I may be going a bit over bored with that statement but it certainly has some serious disadvantages.

People who come from low-income families generally qualify for a wide array of financial aid because of their outstanding need. That need is based off the expected family contribution number (EFC) generated from the FAFSA.  In the case of low income families their EFC will come up zero qualifying them for maximum aid benefits. Federal aid, institutional scholarships, and work-study programs allow many to enroll in some of the top schools in the U.S. at a fraction of the cost.

On the other side of the coin you have those who come from high-income families. While they will not qualify for federal assistance the family can usually afford the cost of higher education with little problem. That only leaves the lonely middle class with their pockets empty.

For the middle class student scholarships are often your best bet, and it’s all about power in numbers.  Apply for as many as you can.  You can checkout a scholarship database that houses hundreds of scholarships or enroll in a free scholarship program that give money away each month.  True, the middle class may have to work a little harder to get the aid for school they so richly deserve, but the money is out there if you put the time and energy into the search, and I know you will.  The middle class is always willing to work a littler harder.


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9 Responses to “FAFSA and the Middle Class”

  1. Ruth says on January 9, 2013 at 1:31 pm:

    I know this opinion is old, but I can honestly say that it is 2013 and as a full time student, and a child of a retired veteran, the situation has not changed much. Disparate for money I joined ROTC and work a part time job. My GPA is nothing to be proud of. After calculating the number of hours that I spend working either in ROTC or at my job, I calculated 39hrs. 18 from ROTC and 21 from my part time job that pays 10$ an hour. It really pisses me off that I have to work so much while my “Lower Income” roommate does nothing but attend school. She does not, and has not had a job in the three years that she has been in school. The way I see it.. is that I work my butt off to pay for her to go to school. I think there should be funding for middle class students that have been in school for 2+ years, and a 3.0+, and work their butts off. That is just my personal opinion.

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  2. Kathie says on April 15, 2010 at 5:09 am:

    Students of middle class families will find the FAFSA to be absolutely unfair. It is a system that is biased against working class families. If you are a middle classed family, working your butt off but unable to pay for your child/ren's tuition beware: your child will not be able to go to college unless YOU take out all of the loans. The blogs say, no matter where you live or how many dependents, 99% of students with a parent/s that earn more than 50k/yr are ineligible for grants. Ask your college if they have "merit scholarships" or "need based merit scholarships". What is the difference? Good question. Expect NO questions about circumstances that will allow your family any kind of "credit". For example, because I had cancer our insurance premiums (now federally mandated) for my family is 24k/yr. DO expect that your child, regardless of how high the GPA, will be "offered" a small fraction of the total tuition in the form of a student loan (half of which will be subsidized), and the rest of the balance the government/school will expect from the parent/s from PLUS loans or cash. FAFSA is absolutely unfair towards working families.

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  3. adel says on November 6, 2009 at 2:51 pm:

    yes i agree with you Mel,because not all in the lower class can get the opportunity,sometimes it feel us unfair because some other higher class they still avail the grant.I hope those who are really in need help can get the lucky grant.Good luck to all of us.

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  4. mn says on November 4, 2009 at 8:14 am:

    it was good

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  5. mel says on October 26, 2009 at 11:58 pm:

    Great post but I disagree with the common belief that FAFSA only provides scholarships or grants for low income families or middle class/middle income families. There are students who are in the upper middle class range or even higher who may qaulify for federal financial aid because of things like living with a single parent, a death in the immediate family or having a veteran as a father or grandfather. I actually found out that I would qaulify for a $5,230 Pell Grant right now, but I’m a graduate student who is not in the lower income range. I definitely agree with the comment posted by Amanda no matter what your financial status is you need to still apply and fill out a fafsa. Good Luck!

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  6. Amanda says on October 24, 2009 at 12:33 am:

    I never knew that it was such a struggle for those in the middle class to gain financial aid. I’m part of the lower class and my guidance teacher told me no matter how much your income is you should apply for a FASFA as early as possible. So those who are in the middle class i suggest you do this.

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  7. wendy says on October 23, 2009 at 1:25 pm:

    This is absolutely true…check out peer to peer lending. ITs one of the only options left to the middle class…one of my favorite sites is GreenNote.com. They do ONLY student loans and they are not tied to credit scores.

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  8. Ray says on October 23, 2009 at 12:37 pm:

    No matter what I will try for scholarships and also work part-time to make it through college. Thats the way both my parents did it and their relatives.

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  9. jessica says on October 22, 2009 at 11:12 pm:

    My parents are supposed to contribute but they can’t afford it so I just have to keep on taking out more loans.

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