Dear Editor: As a parent with two students in college I’ve become very intimate with the nuances of the FAFSA process, whose primer in The Downey Patriot was very informative (“FAFSA Primer: How to Navigate through the College Aid Maze,” 3/5/15).

Filling out the FAFSA form is simple. You don’t need any specialized knowledge or skill. All you need is time and to have the required information handy.

You’ll spend more time and effort filling out your income tax return with the IRS, which you’ll need to validate your FAFSA application.

Much is said about the lot of financial aid that students receive. If you make $50,000 per year and own a home, you better pray that your student is in the top 3 % of his class and helped Mother Theresa win the Nobel Peace Prize for him/her to get merit-based help because you do not qualify for need-based help because you are considered wealthy. That came as a surprise to me and I’m sure to other middle class parents who do not consider themselves wealthy by any stretch of the imagination.

When a student gets his financial aid letter, it shows all expenses and financial aid and a statement “Net Out of Pocket Cost” of zero, because they they have included different loans as “Financial Aid.” If you believe that a loan is financial aid I have a bridge to sell you.

The “holistic” admission process in many colleges have a side door for the gifted quarterback or point guard who will get a free ride regardless of his academic record or of his family wealth.

I’ve learned that private colleges are more generous than state colleges and that Eastern colleges value California students more than California colleges. These are things to consider when your student is deciding where to attend college.

Regardless of your financial status, it is a very good idea to fill out the FAFSA application. Who knows, you may get a grant or a subsidized loan because of it.

Jorge Montero




Published: March 12, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 48