The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

South students learn financial aid policies

By Yueying Zhu/ reporter

Applicants for TCC student financial aid need to get the 2016-2017 FAFSA done before summer, the South financial aid director said April 5.

Students will use 2015 taxes to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid for next fall, Jolynn Sprole advised during Financial Aid for College Success.

“The new thing is starting next year in October,” she said. “The FAFSA for the 2017-2018 school year is going to be available as early as October.”

The Texas Application for State Financial Aid is a form for students who are not U.S. citizens and do not have Social Security numbers. They are allowed to complete this form and use tax money to go to school. Those students can’t use federal dollars but state dollars, Sprole said.

“Now is the time to do this application,” she said.

Every school is going to have its priority date. Right now, TCC’s is May 1, Sprole said.

“If you get your FAFSA in by May 1, I can consider you for all the funds we can offer,” she said.

Two funds are unlimited: Pell Grants and student loans. The rest are limited.

“The government gives us the sum of money,” she said. “When it’s gone, it’s gone. It doesn’t matter who is the neediest person. If she applies first, she could get more money than [someone else] could.”

It is never too late to apply for January because the college will spend down to the last dollar if it has any funding left.

“It is still time to apply for scholarships at TCC,” she said. “A lot of scholarships could be need-based. The only way the school can determine your need-based and your eligibility is with that FAFSA form.”

All TCC students can go to www.tccd.edu to apply for scholarships.

“The deadline is April 21,” she said.

However, if students are interested in scholarships no longer available, Sprole suggested they earmark them for next year. She also gave advice regarding scholarship essays.

“I guarantee you, if you write an essay for a scholarship, you never throw that essay away,” she said. “You tweak it to fit the next scholarship.”

Some students need to do an extra application after the school starts if they need a loan or decline a loan, Sprole said.

Students could also benefit by logging on to the National Student Loan Data System website, Sprole said.

“Every loan you ever take from every school is listed on there,” she said. “You can log on and check what your balances are and check how much money you owe, etc.”

TCC students should keep their loan debt as small as they can, Sprole said.

“If you think you have a hard time at TCC, wait until you get to a four-year college,” she said. “You are never going to see your Pell Grant. Your Pell Grant is going to go toward paying your tuition. You probably are still going to owe extra money after that Pell Grant is applied.”

Students can only apply for student loans if the college doesn’t have anything to offer.

“If you keep your loan debt down at a community college where it costs a lot less, you will have that money and not cost yourself a large loan debt,” she said.

Students who have a loan go through entrance counseling. They have to sign a note to agree to pay back the student loan. When they leave, they will get an e-mail regarding exit counseling.

Students should not avoid the payments because nonpayments will result in blocks on credit references, so they can’t buy other things, Sprole said.

As students know, their refunds at TCC come from Higher One, but the company has been bought out and will no longer be involved after May.

“Students are still going to have bank services,” she said. “If you have a debit card, they may send you a debit card with their name.”

The current debit machines on campuses will go away because they were furnished by Higher One. No decision has been made at this time about replacements, Sprole said.

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