It’s never too early for students to get a jump on financial aid for the 2018-19 academic year. There are plenty of benefits to getting started as soon as possible.
One of the biggest benefits of starting early is the peace of mind of having the task done and out of the way. There’s also the success factor.
“It’s important that the students get their finances in order, especially financial aid,” said Donna Fisher, Seward County Community College director of financial aid. “If students are set with their finances in place before the school year, studies show that their academic success rate increases. Obviously, it’s one less thing for them to worry about and they can concentrate on their academics.”
Often, students who wait until the semester begins to apply for financial aid have to wait for funds, only to find out that they can’t pay for books or supplies. Students will fall behind in class because they don’t have a book and then struggle to keep up.
“I get a few students each semester who don’t have money (through financial aid) for their books,” said Sharon Brockmann, coordinator of the writing center and English instructor. “Before you know it, it’s past midterms before they get their books and that creates an insurmountable challenge.”
Brockmann says it’s impossible for students to pass if they don’t have the book early on because they can’t catch up.
Applying early also pertains to SCCC scholarships and grants, which are different from FAFSA. SCCC scholarships and grants come from the school, while FAFSA is money from the federal government. As with federal money, recipients have to qualify for the Seward County Tuition Grant and other specialized scholarships, but unlike FAFSA there’s a finite amount of money.
“It’s on a first-come, first-serve basis,” Fisher said. “If you apply late, you may miss out on money.”
Also, students looking to transfer to a four-year university will find the four-year institutions often have priority deadlines that require early completion of the FAFSA form to be considered for the most money.
In the end, it pays to get financial aid done early. Students with questions are welcome to stop by SCCC Financial Aid office, where friendly staff are ready to help.