(CNN) — When it comes to paying for college, every dollar counts. But new nationwide research shows that our country’s high school seniors are not doing all they can to get the financial aid they might need.
Many students are leaving real money on the table by missing out on financial aid because they’re not even applying for it.
A new analysis of government data done by Evisors Network shows that two million students that could have qualified for Federal Pell Grants in the 2011 school year didn’t. Of that group, 1.3 million would have received the full $5,645 need-based grant, but the students didn’t even fill out a FAFSA form.
The reason? 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: expected family contribution, assets, the number of children in the family who are in college, and the cost of college.
Nearly 96 percent 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.