Missed money: Analysis finds billions in unclaimed college aid

Posted: Updated:
FARMINGDALE -

A new analysis has found that billions of dollars in aid for college education are going unclaimed.

According to the report by the financial website NerdWallet, many students don’t fill out the crucial Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, known as FAFSA.

As a result, the report says some $2.3 billion in aid goes unclaimed.

Diane Kazanecki-Kempter, director of Student Financial Services at Farmingdale State College, says she's surprised to hear so many students across the country neglected to complete the form.

"The FAFSA enables you to be eligible for the Pell Grant -- that's the No. 1 basic federal grant program. That's free money, it does not have to be paid back," she explains.

NerdWallet’s report says many of those who passed over the paperwork did so because they thought they were ineligible for assistance. Not so, says Kazanecki-Kempter.

"If you want to benefit from a low-interest loan, you still have to complete the FAFSA. So it benefits all students, if you're looking for any type of college assistance, to fill out the FAFSA," she says.

Some students at Farmingdale tell News 12 that the form itself can be tough to navigate. It's 10 pages long including instructions, and it contains more than 100 questions.

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