Campus Staff

Preparation key to applying for financial aid

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Financial aidoffice / Del Mar College

Editor’s note: An April 1 story on financial aid was inaccurate. The following story contains the accurate information.

Preparation is the key to successfully completing and filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is the application for state, federal and college-specific financial aid. Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for need-based financial aid, you should complete the FAFSA to qualify for low-interest student and parent loans.

Ruby Martinez, financial aid representative, heavily emphasized the importance of being proactive when preparing to apply financial aid, and after. The financial aid office has recently added FAFSA Prep Workshops to assist students with filling out the FAFSA and to have one-on-one knowledge on the financial aid life cycle.

Luckily, at most colleges the fall rush has not yet started, so if you have some extra time now, you can take steps to make sure you won’t find yourself standing in a long line and trying not to panic on the first day of class.   Janie Luna, a financial aid processor at the financial aid office, has given some insight on how to avoid long lines and delayed financial aid awards.


 

START EARLY
By submitting your FAFSA early you will ensure yourself access to all of the financial aid award programs and the opportunity to have all of your financial aid completed before you begin classes. Complete your FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Del Mar’s priority deadline for the 2014-15 academic year is May 1.

 

BE ACCURATE
The FAFSA can be confusing. So, refer to a guide on the FAFSA website that walks you through the process or take advantage of Del Mar’s FAFSA workshops by going to www.delmar.edu/Paying_for_College.aspx and checking FAFSA Workshops Schedule under “related links.” By ensuring that your information is accurate, you will greatly decrease the length of time it will take to complete your financial aid file.

 

FOLLOW UP
Once you have submitted your FAFSA, expect an email from the office letting you know if they need any additional information. Submit any additional documents in a timely manner to avoid delays.

 

READ
There will always be instructions that accompany any financial aid email. Take a few moments to read all of these instructions and you could potentially avoid a trip to the financial aid office, or solve your problem with a simple phone call. Using your WEBDMC portal, look under the “My Bridge” options. The communications tab informs students on what documents are needed to complete their financial aid file. Keep in mind, after the review process, other documents may be requested.

 

TAX RETURNS
As of July 12, 2012, the Department of Education no longer allows colleges or universities to accept personal copies of tax returns. Instead, the IRS tax return transcript is required, if students are being verified.  Students can log on to www.irs.gov and now have the option to print out their tax return transcript. You may also request the information be mailed to you.

 

STAY POSITIVE
By remaining focused and positive you can take advantage of all financial aid that has been awarded to you and use it as a tool to empower your future. Take advantage of the resources and information around you and take a proactive step in your financial aid.

All of these tips can greatly impact the effectiveness of your financial aid experience. Del Mar’s financial aid staff is devoted to helping students obtain their financial aid in a timely manner, but they don’t have a magic wand. By following these tips you will be able to fully benefit from all that financial aid has to offer. For further financial aid assistance call 698-1293.

About Author

The reporters and the editors of The Foghorn News are students at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas. The Foghorn staff has a passion for writing and informing the public on the important issues happening locally and nationally, but most importantly what is happening on and off the Del Mar College campus.

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