Depending on whom you ask, it can be extremely complicated, frustrating, and intimidating. In fact, the more colleges your student applies (which is important if you hope to be in a position to negotiate the best aid package possible), the higher the likelihood that things will fall through the cracks.

The financial aid office is not there to find reasons to give your student free money. They are looking for ways to honor the financial policies of their employer. That’s why the rules and regulations surrounding financial aid are over 10,000 pages long!

For most families, paying for college means relying on some form of financial aid. Yet in 2018, 43% of high school seniors didn’t submit the one form required for nearly all types of student aid: the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). These students missed out on a stunning $24 billion in money for college.

Believe it or not, the biggest barrier to financial aid is the application itself. It’s too hard to understand and is not a useful college planning tool. A recent Hechinger Report news story ranked the FAFSA No. 1 among the “most complex and convoluted higher education forms.” Students and families are required to navigate a host of confusing and redundant questions and submit information difficult for many to obtain. Get help filling out financial aid forms today.