By Hanna Zerr
Each year, billions of dollars in financial aid funds are distributed to a variety of college students across the country. Students at Bemidji State University are no exception with financial aid funds distributed to their accounts last Friday.
With the rising costs of tuition and fees, more students at Bemidji State University rely on financial aid to pay for college said a worker in the financial aid office.
Federal aid and institutional grants represent a large source of funding for students as well as grants from the state. In the 2015-2016 school year, students received on average $14,460—including $8,390 in grants—according to the College Board’s 2016 Trends in Higher Education report.
“I have received large amounts of money from the state and grants, as well,” said Emma Rappe, a sophomore at BSU. “If it wasn’t for those grants, I would have to take out private loans which would lead to college being more unrealistic because of how expensive it really is.”
According to the U.S Department of Education, from 2000-01 to 2010-11, the total amount of federal financial aid awarded to students across the country jumped from $64 billion to an estimated $169 billion.
Though students may apply for aid, they do not always qualify. A major factor in determining financial aid is how much money a student’s parents make and variations in qualifications from state to state. Each state has its own procedure for distributing funds, and in most cases the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, FAFSA, is the way the state decides what a student does and does not qualify for.
Allyson Dahl, a junior at BSU, said that she does not qualify for FAFSA because of her parent’s income. “I don’t qualify for grants from FAFSA, but I do qualify for the loans that have no interest until after college, but with the money I use it to buy some books for school, but also go on spring break, and food.”
The future of financial aid for college students is still unclear. With rising tuition and fees, students are picking up a greater share of the college costs by taking out loans to cover the rest of the bill. Without a roaring economy, it’s unlikely that there will be a rise in financial aid for higher education causing students to continue to turn to loans to afford their education.