As students wrap up the calendar year and fall semester, it’s not too soon to think about the next academic year — that is, the 2022-23 school term. The new free application for federal student aid, known as FAFSA, opened in October. According to SCCC Financial Aid Loan Specialist Faye Zimmerman, starting early is always a good idea.
“Our office starts awarding scholarships and other funds in late January, early February for the following school year,” she said. “With federal grants, like the Pell grant, the amount varies based on income but it’s also important to fill out the FAFSA if you plan to take out student loans.”
She also pointed out the importance of applying to SCCC’s own scholarship portal, which matches students with additional sources of funding.
Many students are not aware of just how much aid is available. The federal government’s website notes that many FAFSA applicants have experienced recent financial changes due to the COVID-19 emergency or other reasons.
“If your (or your family’s) financial situation changed from what is reflected on your federal income tax return — for example, you or a family member has lost a job or claimed unemployment benefits, you may be eligible to have your FAFSA form adjusted to qualify for additional aid,” the site noted. “Financial aid offices can adjust your financial aid award to reflect your or your family’s current income.”
Zimmerman said that “it’s not too late to apply for aid for the current academic year, 2021-22,” which would pertain to the upcoming spring semester.
Whether it’s for 2021-22 (the current academic year) or the newly-opened 2022-23 FAFSA (for next year), “we’re happy to help students complete the forms,” she said, adding the financial aid office staff arrange their lunch breaks so that someone is always available during regular office hours.
Visit https://studentaid.gov/fafsa-app to get started with the FAFSA.