Paying for College at KSUGTAC
For students who want to make college more affordable, the world of financial aid can be both invaluable and overwhelming. Between federal loans, scholarships, and other types of aid, it’s easy to get lost in a whirlwind of forms, applications, and unfamiliar terms. Luckily, here at KSUGTAC, there are plenty of resources available to help students navigate it all. I spoke with Financial Aid Coordinator Justin Cornelius to learn more.
Students can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their eligibility for federal loans and grants each year. The application opens annually on October 1, and Mr. Cornelius recommends that students fill out the FAFSA as soon as they can, partially because they may be selected for a process called verification that requires additional documents. While university representatives may visit local high schools to answer seniors’ questions and help them create FSA IDs — accounts that they will need for the FAFSA — students can also tune into FAFSA Fridays on Blackboard Collaborate for more synchronous assistance.
There are also plenty of scholarships available at KSUGTAC. For example, freshmen can receive merit awards based on their academic success in high school; these scholarships do not require a separate application. There is also an online form that students can use to apply for all KSUGTAC scholarships at once, same for the J.E.D.D. scholarship. External organizations offer even more scholarships all year long. Mr. Cornelius notes that these awards generally fit into four categories: (1) merit-based scholarships dependent on academic performance and community involvement, (2) need-based scholarships that may require a FAFSA, (3) program-based scholarships specific to a major or career, and (4) open-ended scholarships either available to everyone or to applicants with certain traits, such as left-handedness. Mr. Cornelius mentions that a staggering $4.5 billion in scholarships “went unawarded” last year. He advises students to put effort into their financial aid and scholarship search, start as early as possible, and ask for assistance if they need it: “Our doors, our emails, and our phones are always open, ready to help.”
To learn more about financial aid, click here.