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Apr 11, 2017 10:57 AM EDT

Harvard's Financial Aid Initiative for its financially challenged students is not just generous, but smart, according to one of its scholars. More than 50 percent of the university's students enjoy financial aid, while most of its students pay only an average of $12,000 a year, which is 10 percent of their family's yearly income. Meanwhile, families who earn less than $65,000 a year pay nothing.

Scholar Michael Wingate said Harvard's financial aid made his college experience more meaningful, Harvard Gazette reported. Wingate graduated valedictorian in his high school, and is the first from that school to be accepted in Harvard. There was no doubt he is financially challenged with their house in Union Beach N.J. destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, and their father leaving his family before he was in high school.

He said that Harvard's financial aid helped him to grow and gave him an opportunity to expand. Some of the venues for enrichment he grabbed in Harvard include working on Dorm Crew and being part of the Harvard Krokodiloes. Being in Harvard's oldest a cappella group gave him a chance to meet great friends and gain better inspiration, especially considering that he used to be part of the church choir when he was a child.

Meanwhile, in a totally different note regarding financial aid, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) was taken offline, just in time when financial aid season is at its peak, Buzz Feed reported. This is a government tool that is supposed to make it easier for struggling students to gain financial aid and get debt relief. Its removal is bringing head-ache to low-income students. This tool hastens application process to half an hour.

And without it, it may take days or weeks before students get financial aid. This could cost students thousands of dollars in their grants and financial aid. It can even cause a significant increase in monthly federal loan payments among other students.

Follows Harvard’s financial aid, University’s Financial Aid Initiative, Michael Wingate, generous, college experience
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