Financial Aid Still Available for Fall 2009 Semester
Haven’t applied yet for financial aid for Fall Semester at WCC? There’s no need to panic. “It really isn’t too late to apply,” said Lori Trapp, director of Financial Aid.
However, Trapp emphasized that the sooner you apply, the better chance you have of getting your aid finalized before deadlines for paying tuition. If your financial aid is still pending when a payment deadline hits, you must pay out of your pocket or sign up for a payment plan.
To comfortably meet all deadlines, it’s best to apply for financial aid by about July 1, Trapp said.
Applying for financial aid requires several steps. The first is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Trapp admitted that filling out the form can be tricky. “Parts of it are just complicated,” she said.
Financial Aid will provide help with the form during six “FAFSA Fridays” in July and August. Students or parents can get hands-on assistance with the federal form in a WCC computer lab. The sessions will be held in room 126 of the Morris Lawrence building from 2:00pm to 4:00pm on July 10, 17, 24, and 31 and Aug. 7 and 21.
People who plan to attend should sign up by calling the Financial Aid Office at 734-973-3523 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so that sufficient staff is available. However, you also can drop in to a session.
All students should apply for financial aid, Trapp said, because aid isn’t just based on income. “There are so many things that go into it that we always encourage everyone to apply,” she said.
Many types of aid are available, including grants, scholarships, work-study, and loans. In the 2007-08 school year, about one-third of WCC students received financial aid, Trapp said.
One of the most popular types of aid is the federal Pell Grant, which is based on financial need. This year, Congress boosted the maximum annual award to $5,350. The maximum is available to qualifying students who take classes full time over two semesters, Trapp said. Qualifying students who take fewer hours receive lower grant amounts. Students can use Pell Grant money to pay for tuition, books, transportation, and living expenses.
About seven to 10 business days after submitting their FAFSA, students usually hear from WCC’s Financial Aid Office. Frequently, the federal government asks WCC to collect more information to help process an aid application. Students should respond promptly to any requests for more information from the Financial Aid Office, Trapp said.
Financial Aid primarily communicates with students by email. Trapp urged aid applicants to check their student email accounts frequently, and to carefully read any emails or letters from her office. Students also can check the status of their financial aid applications through their MyWCC accounts.
All students at least qualify for loans, Trapp said. And contrary to some news reports, loans are not harder to get. “There’s still student loan money available,” she said. “We have banks that are willing to lend to our students just like we’ve always had. It’s really business as usual.”
The federal Department of Education has recently made it easier for students who become unemployed or have a family member who loses a job to get help, Trapp said. The FAFSA form requires students to report family income from 2008. However, students whose family income has since dropped because of a job loss should contact the Financial Aid Office. “We’ll work with them,” Trapp said.
Still confused about financial aid? Trapp urges you to stop by the office on the second floor of the Student Center building, call them at 734-973-3523, or email email@example.com. “We’re used to helping students navigate this process,” she said. “If you’re feeling overwhelmed, give us a call.”