Financial aid functions bring little hope to students in debt


George Morin / The Advocate

Financial aid assistant Shana Hall (right) helps a student with his financial aid application in the Assessment Center in the Student Services Center on Feb. 18.

By Nina Cestaro, Staff Writer

Students with less conventional schedules will be offered a series of financial aid events to help with their completion of FAFSA applications. The initial gathering was held Feb. 18 at 6 p.m.

Located in the Assessment Center next to Counseling Office in the Student Services Center, the financial aid nights will continue throughout the month of February.

Staff and faculty actively answered  student’s questions related to applying for FAFSA online.

The financial aid staff is comprised of Patricia Herrera, Mia Hendersen-Bell, Barbara Rance and Monica Rodriguez. The incentives for student participation were a raffle, giving participants a chance to win free movie passes and snacks.

Students who apply for financial aid have the feeling of optimism that some support from Uncle Sam will soon be on its way.

Henderson-Bell said that these events are geared for working students who cannot get to campus during the day to visit the financial aid officers.

English major Ialanda Goulart said she has not had much success gliding through the financial aid process due to being an international student, even though she’s been in the state for almost six years after living in Brazil.

“It doesn’t feel fair to me and my mom because she’s the one that winds up paying for all my educational costs. She’s a hard worker and the head of my single-earning family of four,” she said.

Herrera told students that this new streamlined FAFSA was designed to propel applicants through the process in a fraction of the time than the original application, which took an hour or more to complete.

Alma Brown said she lost out on opportunities to receive federal grants and loans simply because she is over the unit ceiling having already taken 60 units at the community college level.

The outreach by financial aid staff will continue into the first week of March in front of the Student Services Center at noon replete with disc jockey, music and pizza and working computers for students to use for financial aid.