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Paying the Bill: FAFSA

Posted By David Han On October 29, 2008 @ 10:21 pm In News | Comments Disabled

With the economy at historic lows, South students, struggling to maintain their competitive high school careers, are now harassed to seek ways to pay for rising college tuition prices.

Looking for available financial aids in forms of scholarships and student loans, students may be unaware of their possible eligibility for federal grants.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a document available in late November in the College and Career Center at South, bases the eligibility of a student for grants depending on his or her family financial circumstances.

The form requires families to provide information on annual incomes, trust funds, and savings accounts, mortgages, as well as the names of the colleges to which the student is applying.

Depending on a family’s current financial situation, the student will receive either a grant, student loan, or work/pay package from the federal government.

For retired head of guidance Vaunita Schnell, who remembered tuitio

n costing $2000 per year instead of $45,000, college is becoming more of a difficulty for families to afford.

“Expenses are so high, and colleges are so high, and parents have a lot to deal with, Schnell said. “And we’re here in a scary economy.

For Principal Brian Salzer, the economy “will affect the decision-making of this year’s seniors.

With such a need for financial aid, many families, however, because they are to share private information, dismiss the FAFSA opportunity.

“There is no other way to give [the federal government] data other than with financial information, College and Career Counselor Barbara Brown said.

The form addresses only the essential information for the federal government to appropriately evaluate a student’s eligibility for grants and loans.

Shared information is kept secure and confidential, according to head director of guidance Robert Pomer.

“It’s really not that personal information because the federal government has your information of your income and your taxes and you file your taxes, which can be a public document anyway, Salzer said.

Another reason for families not to fill out the form is because of fear that they will be ineligible for any funds.

There are no cut-offs for financial aid according to Pomer, and every student will be qualified for at least a loan.

Schnell regrets not filling out a FAFSA form for her own daughter, disappointed to find out that her daughter was eligible in factfor financial aid.

Salzer, whose son is a current senior in University of Wisconsin, said filling the FAFSA form came with unexpected surprises.

“For my son, the first three years [of college] he got some financial aid that was great help to him and our family, Salzer said. “In his senior year, he got more than he expected and it surprised us.

Salzer encourages families to fill out a FAFSA form.

“Find out how much help is there and see what the student is entitled to, he said. “There’s nothing to lose.

Some students worry that applying for financial aid may negatively affect their admissions.

This assumption is wrong because colleges do not “let financial aid interfere with [their] decision according to Schnell.

“It is a good program, Schnell said. “It really does try to provide support for kids who need help [during] all this financial mess this country is in.

A program coordinated by Brown will be held tomorrow at 7:00 PM in the South auditorium for further information.

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URL to article: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/10/29/paying-the-bill-fafsa/

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[1] Tuition’s critical condition: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/09/24/tuitions-critical-condition/

[2] Aid seniors with financial aid: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/09/24/aid-seniors-with-financial-aid/

[3] Wall Street meets Brandeis Road: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/10/29/wall-street-meets-brandeis-road/

[4] South Anti-War explores speech rights: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/03/25/south-anti-war-explores-speech-rights/

[5] In with the income tax: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/10/29/in-with-the-income-tax/

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