Half of MU yet to file for federal aid

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Onlinelogo_smallAbout half of the Marquette student body needs to meet the university’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid filing deadline this Saturday despite the federal deadline still being more than a year away.

The federal FAFSA deadline for the 2014-2015 school year is June 30, 2015, but Marquette students who don’t file by Saturday will not be able to receive any additional financial aid, other than what they receive through merit-based scholarships, according to the university website.

Susan Teerink, director of the Office of Student Financial Aid, said in an email that 49 percent of undergraduate students receive federal aid in the form of loans, and 16 percent receive federal grants or scholarships.

These figures do not include private loans or state and institutional-based aid.

Jeffrey Rueth, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, said he does not receive enough financial aid through FAFSA, and is instead forced to take private loans from his bank.

“I have a lot of land, which is all tied up in litigation right now, so it looks like I have a lot of money,” Rueth said. “I really don’t.”

Rueth also said he thinks the process for filing the FAFSA should be more personalized.

“A tax return just isn’t accurate enough,” he said.

The FAFSA asks for a variety of financial information, most of which comes directly from tax returns. This information includes adjusted gross income, investments and real estate, among other criteria.

Rueth said he was lucky he could still get the private loans, but “the downfall of those loans” is how much interest he is accumulating.

“I have to pay them off while I’m still in school or I’m not going to get anywhere with them,” he said.

Still, many students are able to receive some form of federal, state or institution-based aid through FAFSA, but those students have to act quickly to qualify for it.

Families often do not complete their taxes before Feb. 15. Because of that, Marquette encourages students and parents to estimate information, according to the university website.

The estimated information can then be confirmed or rewritten after the taxes are completed. This way, the university website states, students will not be late in filling out their FAFSA, and they can ensure they will maximize their chances of receiving the most possible aid.

Students can access the FAFSA forms directly through the Federal Student Aid’s government website. There, students can fill out the forms online, or send in the forms via mail.

The FAFSA website recommends filing the forms online to ensure the quickest processing of the information.

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