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Friday, September 24, 2021 at 1:43 AM

Almost one in every three parents has never discussed the FAFSA with their child.

Discover Student Loans conducted an annual study and discovered that 29 percent of parents had never addressed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid® (FAFSA) with their children, and another 22 percent have only discussed it once or twice with their children1. The Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA), which becomes available on October 1st, is a free yearly application that provides families with access to the biggest source of financial aid to assist them in paying for collegei. For many, it is the most efficient method of obtaining government assistance.

It's hardly surprising that just 37 percent of families answered that they are extremely acquainted with the FAFSA and want to complete it this year, given the paucity of conversations that families are having about it. A further finding of the study was that 31 percent of parents who intended to submit the FAFSA had not yet done so as of May 2021 - a month before the application deadline in June of the following year.

In addition to a lack of conversation regarding the FAFSA among family members, Discover's study uncovered myths and misunderstandings that may be preventing families from completing the FAFSA application, such as the following:

Only 20% of parents are aware that the FAFSA application is only accessible in October, while slightly more than half (51 percent) believe that the FAFSA is available all year round. Both of these statistics have been rather stable over the past three years.
It is estimated that it takes between one and three hours to complete the FAFSA by more than a third of parents (36 percent). Most families, on the other hand, finish the FAFSA in less than an hour. iii
Over 4 in 10 (42 percent) families that do not intend to submit the FAFSA do so because they do not think they would be eligible for federal financial assistance. In actuality, financial assistance was awarded to 86 percent of first-time, full-time students at public 4-year schools and universities. iv

Approximately half of parents (50 percent) say they've used online FAFSA instructions and resources to help them through the process, while 29 percent say they've used materials provided by a child's school and 28 percent have referred to high school guidance counselors as resources.

Parents seeking more resources may visit Discover Student Loans, which offers free tools and information to assist them in planning for and navigating their college finance journey. To begin, the FAFSA helper tool from Discover Student Loans is an interactive resource intended to aid families in preparing to submit their FAFSA application. It is available online. After a few questions are answered, the tool offers customized suggestions and considerations to assist families in getting ready for the journey ahead. A second resource for families may be found on the Discover Student Loans website. This website offers useful information for students, parents, and college counselors, all of which can be accessed on the Discover Student Loans website. The award-winning My College Plan tool may be used by families who want to compare college prices, check out possible career paths and incomes of college majors, and figure out their college Return on Investment (ROI).

Those interested in finding out more about Discover Student Loans may do so by visiting www. discover. com/student-loans.


Unless otherwise indicated, all data comes from a study done by Dynata (previously Research Now/SSI) on behalf of Discover Financial Services in the United Kingdom. The poll was performed online from May 10 – 15, 2021, with a total sample size of 1,000 parents of college-bound children (ages 16 – 18) from the United States participating. Using a 95 percent level of confidence, the margin of sampling error is 2. 53 percentage points.