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FAFSA applications open for 2021-22 school year

October is the kick-off for federal student aid, helping send students all across the country to college at a cheaper cost.
Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 5:52 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) -University of Toledo senior Bailey Sparks works three jobs in order to pay for his education. Sparks a media student also relies on Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA.

“A lot of students are in my position and even less privileged than I am and rely on FAFSA because they don’t have the support network that other students of different backgrounds have," said Bailey Sparks.

Spark’s explains his family helped pay his way through school, up until his mother experienced a ruptured brain aneurysm halfway through his freshman year, leaving her disabled.

“That first semester she could help me pay through school, that second semester I was on my own," said Sparks. "Life happens. Your situation can change widely between FAFSA.”

Sparks explains because of his mother’s health expenses, he became fully responsible for funding his tuition. Sparks having to adapt to his new situation turned to FAFSA funding to stay in school.

Local economic experts explain Spark’s situation is not uncommon, as students partly due to the pandemic, are struggling to pay tuition now more than ever.

Bob Savage President of Savage Consulting Firm in Toledo says money is out there for students and parents to take advantage of, by filling out a FAFSA application, they don’t leave valuable cash behind.

“Students in Toledo left over a million dollars on the table that wasn’t asked for, and the truth of the manner is if we don’t take the money in Ohio or Toledo it’s going to go somewhere else," said Bob Savage. "This money is out there and available. Why pay more for college if you don’t have to?”

Savage explains FAFSA funding exists not only to assist with sending students to college but as a way to ultimately boost the local economy, by creating jobs and opportunities in the area.

“Basically, there’s no downside to additional education, and whether it’s for the individual or the family or our region it helps all of those things," said Savage. "There is no loser here.”

The FAFSA process opened October 1st and runs through January 2021. FAFSA forms are available online at StudentAid.Gov, ultimately benefiting students who need it most.

“Something students should not have to worry about right now is finances, they should be worrying about their education," said Bailey Sparks.

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