What You Write on the FASFA Can and Will Be Used Against You

by Lauren Robson

College essays, applications, and deadlines, filling out the FAFSA, managing current classes. As if the college selection process isn’t stressful enough, high school seniors now have to worry about colleges looking at how they ranked potential schools on the FAFSA. Does this ranking really have an impact on the student’s future? The truth is that it does.

Colleges have access to these FAFSA rankings, thus influencing how they will approach their applicants. How? Well it is quite simple. If their institution is ranked towards the top, universities will not offer as much financial aid; the student wants to go there and will hopefully still want to go there. If their institution is ranked towards the bottom, they might not even want to bother. What are the chances that their school will jump up nine spots to capture number one? This chance is extremely slim, therefore colleges may not even think about accepting the student or offering much financial aid. If their institution is ranked towards the upper middle, and the college really wants the student, they might offer a good amount of financial aid to try to reel the student in.

Some people say that the FAFSA reports are released too late for colleges to utilize them in this manner, however it cannot be ruled out. Colleges with lower budgets may look to find out which students are interested, so they aren’t wasting their time and efforts. As Deborah Fox says in the article Colleges May Penalize You for Ranking Financial Aid Applications “colleges have the goal of admitting the best students they possibly can at the best price they possibly can.”

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