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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Use loans wisely, specialist says

SE Campus students made their wallets their valentines during the Love Your Money seminars Feb. 14. They learned about loans, hidden costs, investments and the importance of financial security, among other things.
Photo courtesy Jacquelyn Warmsley

By Melissa Smith/reporter

At the Love Your Money “Financial Aid 101” seminar Valentine’s Day, much discussion centered on a certain four-letter word that starts with “L.” Here’s a hint: The word was not “love.”

SE financial aid specialist Robert Young had quite a bit to say about this word as he focused on ways students can get money for school.

Loan is a four-letter word,” he said. “[Loans] are there if you need them, but be smart about how you use them.”

Young’s presentation detailed the various avenues students can take to get money to help pay for tuition, books and living expenses. He offered step-by-step instructions for navigating financial aid tools such as WebAdvisor and Campus Cruiser to electronically filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Young urged students to begin assessing financial need and applying for the various resources as soon as they become available. His presentation included a side-by-side comparison of the financial aid available to students who apply when applications are first available and students who wait until the application deadline.

“The early bird really does get the worm,” he said.

Grants and scholarships can limit, or even avoid, the amount students need to borrow, Young said. Also, there are lifetime caps on student loans.

“If you max out loans and hit those caps before you graduate, you could end up with $60,000 in loan debt but no degree to show for it,” he said.

Young also discussed changes to the satisfactory academic progress provision and the impact of changing a class schedule without telling the financial aid office.

After the presentation, SE student Christina Tuya said she realized the importance of researching financial aid options.

“If you don’t, you aren’t going to find all of the opportunities,” she said.

After each segment of Love Your Money, attendees could win door prizes, such as Sam’s Club memberships and other gifts from local sponsors.

One door prize was the chance to get in a “cash cube” — a plexiglass box as big as a phone booth where forced air blows cash around the participant, who tries to catch as much as possible in 20 seconds.

After attending all five Love Your Money sessions, SE student Arinash Persaud was announced as one of the cash cube winners for the financial aid session.

Rusty Fox, SE vice president of student development services, said the cash cube added an appealing angle to the event.

“But the real value was in the information,” he said.

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