Financial Aid - Why Students Aren't Getting It

Why in the world would anyone not take free money to help pay for college? The cost of going to college is expensive, and every dollar counts, but a new nationwide study shows many high school seniors are missing out on financial aid, because they're not even applying for it!

The new study shows that two million students that could have qualified for Federal Pell Grants in the 2011 school year - didn't.

Of that group more than a million would have received the full $5,600 need-based grant but the students didn't even fill out a FAFSA form.

The study found that nearly half of the students thought they were ineligible.

Many people think income level is the sole requirement but it is not. Also factoring in for eligibility is expected family contribution, assets, the number of children in the family who are in college, and the cost of college.

Nearly 96% of recipients of Pell Grants are from families making less than $50,000 a year, but experts say you shouldn't automatically exclude yourself by not applying.