Apply for financial aid; the sooner the better

A still from Amarillo College's Financial Aid Process video.
A still from Amarillo College's Financial Aid Process video.
A still from Amarillo College’s Financial Aid Process video.

Even though there are three weeks left until the end of the semester, it may seem like the next term is just around the corner.

With all the hype of getting greenlighted and determining what classes to take next, it’s easy to forget that there still are lots of other things involved.

One item that may be added to the endless to-do list is money management.

Many students know that going to school can’t be taken care of with simple pocket change, but not many people have that much money, either.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as FAFSA, is a resource that helps students pay their way through college.

If students visit the financial aid office for FAFSA, they will be told that filling out the application form as soon as possible is the best idea.

“There are several types of aid available, but they’re only given a certain amount of funding,” said Kelly Prater, director of financial aid.

“If you wait until August, it’ll have run out. The earlier you do it, the better.”

Even if a student doesn’t think he or she will qualify for aid, there still are other important aspects to consider.

Certain jobs on campus are accessible only if an applicant has filled out a FAFSA.

The same thing goes for various scholarships.

Documentation is needed for the application. If a student is classified as dependent, he or she has to provide parental information.

Students who qualify as independent have to fill out their own information or their spouse’s.

“FAFSA is just the first step,” Kelly said. “There is more information we may need. Students should check their email after filling it out so they can get their file done.”

The application itself doesn’t have to be done in the financial aid offices.

“We are processing these applications very soon for fall,” said Felicity Swann, a scholarship coordinator in the financial aid office.

“We encourage any students who are going into the fall semester to apply real soon.”

Students can go to the official FAFSA website at www.fafsa.gov to fill out the application there as well as in person at any available AC financial aid offices.

“It’s really easy to complete,” said Tracy Ballard, a financial aid assistant.

“If they have any problems, we are available for them to come and get help.”

Financial aid hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Financial aid is located in the Student Services Center.

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