EXPLAINING THE FINANCIAL AID PROCESS AND THE SERVICES AVAILABLE TO STUDENTS
By Ian Van Orden
News and opinion editor
Over the last 30 years the world has seen an unprecedented growth in technology. Nearly every industry has been affected by these developments and this has caused a massive push towards higher education. This push has led to the value of a college degree increasing tenfold. A report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce revealed that 63 percent of all jobs will require a college degree of some kind beginning this year.
Likely the largest hurdle that potential students must clear is how they will pay for college. The cost of college has been the focus of many debates, both in the political world and otherwise, as students struggle with tuition and the loans that seems to naturally come with it.
What if someone is unable to shoulder those loans or pay for tuition out of pocket? The next option is financial aid. The process to receive aid begins online.
“The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA) are available online beginning Oct. 1 each year,” said Karen Ash, the director of the office of financial aid and scholarships at Clackamas Community College. “To be eligible for most types of financial aid, students must complete the FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov or ORSAA at www.getcollegefunds.org.”
Most students, specifically U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and some non-citizens, will find themselves filing the FAFSA. The ORSAA, on the other hand, is a specialized program designed to provide aid to undocumented students.
“You may apply for financial aid any time throughout the year,” Ash said. “However, because certain financial aid funds are limited, you should apply as early as possible.”
Ash urged students to read over the information provided by the FAFSA and ORSAA carefully. She said you will also need to apply to CCC, or whichever school you intend to attend, before receiving aid. If you apply to CCC, you will need to submit the college’s school code, which is 004878.
“Make sure [applicants] are putting in accurate information as it allows our specialists to review a file more smoothly,” said Rochelle Dawn, the federal work-study coordinator and financial aid advisor.
Both Dawn and Ash stressed the importance of checking the ‘My Documents’ section of the my.clackamas.edu page and student email repeatedly when applying for aid. Any issues or additional documents required for the process will be posted in these locations.
Dawn also suggested taking advantage of the services offered by the college, including speaking to the staff at the financial aid desk and the FAFSA Lab, both located in Roger Rook. These resources offer assistance to anyone who is seeking financial aid.
The FAFSA Lab specifically offers a free opportunity for both students and members of the surrounding community to receive help from those familiar with the application process. They will help fill out the FAFSA or ORSAA applications, and help make corrections, among other things.
Casey Traver, a CCC student, voiced concerns about his ability to receive financial aid. “With at least the FAFSA, most of the time, what I get back isn’t anything special or really worth doing it.”
Traver said that he believed this was due to his parent’s income bracket and his demographic. What can students in similar situation do?
Available to all students, including those who do not qualify for federal aid, the school offers scholarships on a merit-based system.
“Apply for scholarships anywhere and everywhere,” Ash said.
The CCC scholarship application is now open for the 18-19 award year. The deadline to apply is April 12. Visit www.clackamas.edu/scholarships for more information.
IMPORTANT FINANCIAL AID INFORMATION
FAFSA Lab Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m.
Financial Aid Help Desk: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Financial Aid Contact Information: email@example.com, 503-594-6100
The 2018-2019 scholarship application period is open until April 12.