“Please fill out your FAFSA sooner than later. We don’t know what the government is going to do about financial aid. Guarantee your money now, please students.”

Repeatedly, I was told to fill out the FAFSA. I thought, “Deadline isn’t for a couple months, I’ll be alright.” Turns out, I might not be alright.

And you might not be either.

Installed in our laws in 1965 is the Higher Education Act which is “designed to strengthen the educational resources of the colleges and universities of the United States and to provide financial assistance to post-secondary students” (Investopedia). Recently, the PROSPER Act was introduced to replace HEA.

So what does that mean?

Let me break it down for you. Say you’re a college student right now. You have different options for grants (Pell, Tag, scholarships). You have different options for loans. You have different loan repayment options. With the new bill, you don’t really have that many options. There is only supposed to be one grant that you can have. Students are going to have to resort to private loans. Often times, those private loans have an insane percentage of interest, which only adds to the amount of money students have to pay. Work study money will also change for students. Its calculations will be different. Basically, this is what you’re going to be looking at:

As if that’s not already what you’re looking at. But it’s getting worse. When my friend first heard about this new bill working in process, she replied “As if I’m not already broke,” because honestly, same.

Most students at universities are relying on financial aid to get them through college. Heck, most high school students wait for their financial aid package to decide which university/college they’re going to. At this point, college is a make or break deal depending on financial aid.

The HEA bill also used to forgive student loans after 10 years if these people go into public service careers, but that would be erased in this new law. This new bill, if passed, will only make it harder for students to go to college.

First of all, fewer students are even going to attend college. Fewer students are going to consider going to IVY Leagues or out of state because... with what money? Many students are also going to resort to private loans which will increase their loan debt. In addition, students are going to work longer hours.

For those who don’t already work, they’re more likely to find a job and work part-time alongside college. Another option would be gap semesters or gap years. Often times, students already do that because they need the money.

What’s saddening is that many people in the U.S. are promoting their first generation to attend college and be the first members of their family to … be in debt. First generation students are likely, anyways, to come from tough conditions and low incomes.

They are in need of any financial aid they can get. They don’t want the loans, but they would take it if it meant going to college. But now, how are they supposed to go to college?

Is it even worth it? Do I really want to college?