Financial Aid Office extends influence

Upcoming events lend help to night students


Christian Urrutia / The Advocate

Administration of justice major Daisy Corona receives help regarding her FAFSA application at the Financial Aid Office desk in the Student Services Center Building on Monday. The office is now open some days in the evening.

By Asma Alkrizy, Opinion Editor

The Financial Aid Office extended its hours of operation into the evening on certain days and also on Fridays to help night students through their financial aid applications in the Assessment Center.

A series of Financial Aid Nights on Jan. 26, Feb. 23, March 20, April 26 and May 16 from 4 to 6 p.m. aim to draw night students, who may be unable to visit the office during its daytime hours, to sign up for financial help at Contra Costa College.

Social and behavioral science major Jocelyn Eragg said Financial Aid Night was a great idea to reach out to every student on campus. 

“(Financial Aid Night) is great because it gives people the opportunity to come in at a later time to gain financial aid assistance,” Eragg said. “I see it as convenient and a big plus for night students.”

Financial Aid Supervisor Monica Rodriguez said the decision to organize the Financial Aid Night event was spurred by the need to want to reach out for more students who can’t make it to their hours of operation.

Rodriguez said she organized the series of events with the help of Student Coordinator Charles Ramirez and Dean of Enrollment Services Dennis Franco. 

“We looked over our data-driven decision and took into account CCC’s student population,” Rodriguez said. “We compared the students who filed for FAFSA with the number of students enrolled on campus, and thought about increasing the rate of students getting financial aid assistance.”

She said increasing the student number wasn’t the only factor that led to the decision of extending the financial aid’s hours of operation.

She said the Financial Aid Office sought to provide college students who are full time or work a part-time job a chance to take advantage of the financial aid services.

“We want to look at the big population, not just students who are able to receive our financial aid services,” Rodriguez said.

She said that some students don’t take advantage of financial assistance, and this stems from the disadvantaged students not receiving financial aid assistance due to their class and working schedule conflicting with the financial aid’s hours of operation.

Ramirez said the Financial Aid Nights give opportunities for more students by working around time constraints.

He said sometimes hours conflict with a student’s class schedule and as a result prevents them from receiving financial aid services.

“We also provide lab hours now and have extended our hours of operation to Fridays,” Ramirez said. “These changes allow more students to gain help and we’re able to reach for different type of students.”

This spring semester offers financial aid lab hours, where students will have access to staff members who can help guide them through the online application process and find helpful resources.

The financial aid lab hours of operation have also been extended to the evenings from 4 to 6 p.m., which gives students more time to get financial assistance.

“The financial aid (lab hours) allow one-on-one help,” Ramirez said. “Students get to interact with staff and ask them specific questions.”

He said helping students is difficult over the counter rather than a one-on-one appointment.

“In lab hours, staff show students where to go and help them one-on-one,” Ramirez said. “It is better than just explaining the application process to them.”

The Financial Aid Office has also extended its hours of operation on Friday to 8 a.m. to noon, Rodriguez said.