Financial Aid offers tools
Published: Thursday, February 2, 2012
Updated: Thursday, February 2, 2012 18:02
Wednesday marked the beginning of Financial Aid Awareness month for all students receiving federal aid for school funding.
All students are being strongly advised to complete their online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications so that the processing of information is done before the fall semester arrives.
Ursula Shorty, director of Financial Aid, and Raymond Clarke, assistant director of Financial Aid, are collectively sponsoring and participating in various activities during the months of February and March.
"We don't like to see that," Shorty said, discussing the long lines formed each fall semester in Felton G. Clark Activity Center.
There will be various activities, on and off campus, to make students aware of the Financial Aid opportunities available, assist parents and students in the application process, discuss changes to the 2012-2013 FASFA application process and inform students of the upcoming changes to financial aid and student eligibility for the 2012-2013 award year.
"We hate the lines just as well as the students do," exclaimed Shorty, discussing the hassles students and the Financial Aid department undergoes with late processing.
Because of a recent statutory change, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, related to minimum awards, the maximum Pell Grant eligible Expected Family Contributions (EFC) for 2012-2013 is 4,995, less than the 5,273 EFC maximum for the 2011-2012 Award Year.
Therefore, the result is that a small number of applicants who would have been Pell
Grant eligible for the 2011-2012 Award Year will not be eligible for the 2012-2013 Award Year.
Starting this month of February, the department of Financial Aid is planning to host "Financial Aid Nights," with Residential Life, "College Goal Sunday," "Hands on Help Sessions" and high school visits in conjunction with the office of Admissions and Upward Bound.
With these programs and events being held, Shorty said this will help give Financial Aid enough time to process information.
"We're trying to be more visible on campus," said Shorty. "We hope they take the initiative to get more done more than later."
According to Shorty the long lines in F.G. Clark, are out of their control. "Normally, it's something completely out of our control."
Temorror Thomas, a political science graduate student from Prairieville, La., said, "By March or April, all students should be able to finish all of their applications."
Thomas stated that by it being so close to tax season, all applications should be finished by then.
Although some students say that they get all of their information in on time, Financial Aid's lines are still unavoidable.
Shondrica Valentine, a junior family consumer science major from Newellton, La., stated that she fills out all her information early each year and her she still had to stand in the long lines.
"Submitting information to Financial Aid has yet to be efficient," said Valentine.
Another student, Doneillia Johnson, a senior family consumer science major from Bernice, La., "I filled out my information and I still had to wait in line." Johnson said SU does not process the forms quick enough.
Many students have yet to receive their 1098 forms, which is making the process to file taxes and fill out their FAFSA online applications.