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Free Money Giveaway?

Posted on 04 November 2014 by

College students love money; in fact everybody loves money.

One of the most easiest ways for students to receive money is receiving a Federal Student Aid refund check from their college.

One of the most exciting days for college students is when their leftover money from their financial aid is deposited into their bank account, or when they receive that financial aid refund check in the mail for them to cash.

However much you may receive, students are always very excited about receiving leftover funds from school, and its pretty much theirs to choose what it is they want to do with that money.

The question at hand here though is this; is it a good thing or a bad thing? Well, it depends. It can vary for each student and, it depends on the position that you take. Are you the student getting the refund check to use on frivolous items ? Or are you the student that has to pay their way through college?

Some students are probably going to use these checks to spend on future educational expenses. Maybe it helps them in their personal lives or for a variety of other personal important things.

Some students, on the other hand are probably going to use the checks for other small things such as clothes, or a car, and maybe something else that is a want and not necessarily a need.

University Of New Haven sophomore Charvas Carter received approximately $400 back from his school in a refund.

“I was so excited about the amount of money that I received from my school. It has helped me so much with my struggles that I’m facing in my personal life. I wish I could use the money for something else like the new Jordans that just came out . . .,” he said.

An article published in the Global Post titled “What Can Financial Aid Be Used for in College” said, “Ultimately, the U.S Department of Education says that financial aid can be used for reasonable college-related expense. So, you can use financial aid to pay for anything you need to attend college successfully… from transportation to a new computer.”

What if Carter didn’t have issues going on in his personal life?  What if everything was perfectly fine for him and he didn’t have any responsibilities at all? What if all his school related expenses were covered already?

And, what about the students who don’t receive refund checks? Are they being cheated out of their educational expenses? Should they have their parents work hard to help pay for their tuition, or should a student take the time to find a job just to help get them through school?

University of Hartford senior Tamika Wilson has a lot of outstanding student loans that she  isn’t looking forward to paying back. “The amount of student loan that I owe is tremendous” she said.“I honestly feel like I’ll be in debt for the rest of my life!”

Wilson went on to say.“I was the only one of my friends who didn’t get much financial aid for school. I had to pay out of pocket and had to work to help pay off what I need to pay for. I feel that if I was going to school for free like my friends I think my college experience would be more memorable and I would have gotten the grades that I was striving so hard to obtain.”

There are plenty plenty of pros and cons about the topic of student loans and refunds, but truth of the matter is, is it something that needs to change?

It makes you wonder how schools are providing the funds to the students. In other words, how is eligibility determined?  According to the Federal Student Aid website (An Office of the U.S. Department of Education):

“The financial aid staff starts by deciding upon your cost of attendance (COA) at that school”

“They then consider your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).”

“They subtract your EFC from your COA to determine the amount of your financial need and therefore how much need-based aid you can get.”

“To determine how much non-need-based aid you can get, the school takes your cost of attendance and subtracts any financial aid you’ve already been awarded.”

There is definitely an issue here. The question is how can we solve this issue in an effective way. Maybe there are students who are using the money in a responsible manner. Maybe there are other students who like to splurge the money on frivolous things while the students who still struggle still have to pay off their loans and other debts they have towards their education.

For more detailed information on how financial aid is calculated, visit the Federal Student Aid website at. https://studentaid.ed.gov/fafsa/next-steps/how-calculated