Sep 30, 2019
Paying for College

QoD: How much free financial aid is lost to families who do not file the FAFSA?

This is an update to a QoD from 2017.  Remember that students and their families can file the FAFSA starting today, October 1st. 

Answer: $2.6 billion

FAFSA Explainer Video


  • In your own words, what is the FAFSA?
  • Why do you think it's important to file the FAFSA?
  • If you are planning to go to college, when do you think the best time is to complete the FAFSA?

Here's the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.

Behind the numbers (from NerdWallet)

The high school Class of 2018 missed out on $2.6 billion in free money for college, according to NerdWallet’s annual analysis of federal financial aid data. The money went unclaimed because about 661,000 of the nation’s graduates who were eligible for a Pell Grant simply didn’t complete their federal financial aid application.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is crucial to unlocking financial aid for college, including federal loans and money from states and schools.


The PAYBACK CHALLENGE Essay contest is ON with over $125,000 in scholarships available! Your students play the award-winning game PAYBACK ( then write a short 250 word essay. More details here

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

Mail Icon

Subscribe to the blog

Get Question of the Day, FinCap Friday, and the latest updates from NGPF in your inbox by subscribing today: