Students reminded to apply for FAFSA

Jene Thomas – General Assignment Reporter 

With the approaching F.A.F.S.A submission deadline, Southern’s financial aid office has been placing helpful hints for students all around campus to submit the form.

“Well, not only do we send out reminder emails, but the Department of Education sends out reminder emails based on the email that you provided on your F.A.F.S.A from last year and then there’s also that big banner on the bridge,” said Carrie Fernandes, associate director for the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship.

In order for students to gain priority consideration for financial aid for the 2015-2016 academic year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid submission deadline is March 15, as signified by the big white bang strung across the Welcome to Southern bridge. Any applications sent in after that date will be considered late, according to the Southern financial aid website.

Aside from the bridge and emails, there have also been flyers posted around campus. Both Chase Hall and West Campus have hosted events in their respective halls where a Resident Advisor and a representative from the financial aid department met with students and expressed the importance of filling it out.

Because the F.A.F.S.A is available at the beginning of each year, some students that fill it out themselves have already filled it out and submitted it to the Dept. of Education and the office of financial aid.

“I do it myself,” said Jennifer Crowley, senior. “My parents didn’t go to college so I didn’t really know the process and my older sisters went to college but there’s a 10-year difference so they didn’t remember so I just kind of figured it all out on my own.”

Some students have their parents fill out the form.

“I kind of have the gist of it, but I don’t take any chances of messing it up so I just have my mom do it,” said Briana Keel. “Because your parents aren’t going to be around forever, sooner or later you’ll have to learn to do it yourself.”

Keel is among many students who don’t fill out the F.A.F.S.A completely by themselves. Fernandes said students often come into the office to seek assistance.

“Basically, a student can contact us and we can help them through the F.A.F.S.A process, any of their student loan requirements, any type of documents they might be required to submit we can help them with that process and any questions they have,” she said.

Most students usually get some form of assistance. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 81 percent of Southern students received some kind of financial aid in the 2012-2013 school year.

The F.A.F.S.A determines student eligibility based on their estimated family contribution. However, in order to derive that number, students and their parents need to enter their tax information from their W2 forms.

Tax season is also here. April 15 should be marked on calendars as the day to have them completed. For information about filing taxes and expectations on when and how much of a refund could be given, visit the IRS website.

“I mean I figured that out by myself too but I think it would be super helpful if [the school] offered classes or just a little workshop or something,” Crowley said.

Students may be eligible for monetary aid like federal grants, grants provided by the school, loans and possible work-study programs as long as they submit their F.A.F.S.A in a timely manner.

“Even if they don’t want to take out student loans, they should always do their F.A.F.S.A because it’s looking at a number of different sources for financial aid,” Fernandes said.

Photo Credit: Monica Zielinski


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