January 17, 2017
Debunking myths about financial aid, GC available to assist with the FAFSA
There is still time to apply for financial aid for college. With the upcoming spring semester at Garrett College about to begin – January 23 – the Office of Financial Aid is available to assist prospective students and parents by offering personalized one-on-one support with filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
"With the right help, the FAFSA can be completed in 15 to 20 minutes. Each line in the income section is mapped to a line on the IRS form. Estimated results are immediate," says Cissy VanSickle, Director of Financial Aid at Garrett College. "Finding the funding for a college education is often the first hurdle of earning the degree or certificate that the student is striving for. Our financial aid counselors attend regular training sessions so they can be equipped to help all applicants get the greatest amount possible to defray college expenses and to dispel some of the widespread myths about financial aid."
Garrett County high school graduates who plan to attend Garrett College are encouraged to apply for the Garrett County Scholarship Program as well as Garrett College Foundation scholarships. Information and applications can be obtained online or by calling the Financial Aid Office at 301-387-3080.
Don't fall for these myths about Financial Aid, provided by www.studentaid.ed.gov.
"I'm not going to bother filling out the FAFSA because…"
Myth #1: "My parents make too much money, so I won't qualify for aid."
Reality: There is no income cut-off to qualify for federal student aid. Many factors besides income- from the size of your family to the age of your older parent – are taken into account. Your eligibility is determined by a mathematical formula, not by your parents' income alone. Always remember, when you fill out the FAFSA, you're also automatically applying for funds from your state, and possibly from your school as well. In fact, some schools won't even consider you for any of their scholarships (including academic scholarships) until you've submitted a FAFSA. Don't make assumptions about what you'll get – fill out the application and find out for yourself.
Myth #2: "Only students with good grades get financial aid."
Reality: While a high grade point average will help a student get into a good school and may help with academic scholarships, most of the federal student aid programs do not take a student's grades into consideration. Provided a student maintains satisfactory academic progress in his or her program of study, federal student aid will help a student with an average academic record complete his or her education.
Myth #3: "I'm too old to get financial aid."
Reality: Funds from federal student aid programs are awarded on the basis of financial need, not on the basis of age. Adult students can get financial aid, so be sure to fill out the FAFSA.
Myth #4: "The FAFSA is too hard to fill out."
Reality: Most colleges require only the FAFSA in order to apply for assistance. Much of the information needed to fill out the FAFSA is found on family tax returns. On the 2018-19 FAFSA, students and parents are urged to use the new IRS Data Retrieval Tool that automatically pulls information from the IRS tax return and places the information in the correct FAFSA fields. In addition to the form's directions there is also online and telephone support available. The FAFSA can be filled out online and saved for future reference.
More information is available by the Garrett College Financial Aid Office at 301-387-3080 and the Financial Aid office offers video answers to questions online at FATV https://garrettcollege.financialaidtv.com.