Students given opportunity to receive financial assistance at FAFSA filing events


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Little mistakes can create major issues when filing for Free Application of Financial Aid, causing problems for students who need financial assistance for the school year, according to some employees in Marshall University’s Office of Student Financial Assistance. 

“A lot of financial aid requirements are not met because of minor errors when filing, such as putting “Bob” instead of “Robert” or getting a number wrong on a tax return,” said Jean Ann Bevans, associate director of customer service at the Office of Student Financial Assistance. “We provide FAFSA filing events, the first one being Oct. 21, that help students get all their required information and making the process of filing a little easier. They can bring any personal documents, their parents, their tax returns and any other information that can be used in filing for FAFSA.”

The Office of Financial Assistance awards approximately $144 million in financial aid to students. For some students, the money is available to them but they have a difficult time accessing it due to struggles with filing for financial aid or missing the filing deadline.

“People wait too long, and then they’re in a scramble,” Lucy Robinette, a senior at Marshall, said. “Financial aid makes it a lot harder because then there is a two-week waiting period, and it makes it difficult for people who have jobs who have to wait until the last second.” 

Other problems students face may include not having to deal with financial aid until graduate school, due to previous scholarships or other assistance, leaving them to figure out the process for the first time at a critical point in their schooling, according to some students. 

“We’re in midterms, and I am just now getting the hang of everything, so I feel like it definitely could be helpful, but I am just now getting my books and some extra money to live on,” said Adrianna Cook, a graduate student at Marshall. “I think we need more resources, more transparency, and we need more communication when it comes to financial aid.”

The Office of Student Financial Assistance said the easiest ways to avoid problems such as these are to apply early, take advantage of FAFSA filing events and use MU Online accounts to keep up-to-date with details and what is needed when applying for financial assistance. 

“My advice to students is they need to be aware of FAFSA deadlines and use their MU Online accounts to keep up to date on what is required,” Bevans said.

Sarah Rowe can be contacted at [email protected].