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

Financial aid process revealed at NE speech

By Barbie Farley/reporter

Students gathered on NE Campus Feb. 18 to receive financial aid information.

Bill McMullen, NE financial aid director, presented Financial Aid 101, discussing different suggestions and tips for acquiring financial help for college.

McMullen kicked off the presentation by alleviating the fears most students have when they apply for financial aid. He assured students that the process is not as complicated as one might think.

“The process is fairly simple,” he said. “There are a lot of myths and urban legends.”

He said the once-cumbersome and complicated FAFSA packets have been simplified. They are now step-by-step worksheets.

Eligibility for financial aid requires that the student be enrolled in at least six credit hours. However, as many students know, that is not the only requirement.

“You have to maintain a 2.0 GPA and complete at least 67 percent of your classes,” McMullen said.

If students cannot achieve the 2.0 GPA or complete 67 percent of their classes, McMullen said an option to apply under special circumstances exists.

McMullen cautioned students not to fall victim to financial aid schemes. He said different organizations will lure students to pay to attend seminars aimed at helping students fill out applications.

“Financial aid is free. Don’t pay for it,” he said. “Don’t pay to fill out a free application.”

He also warned the students not to leave blank fields on the FAFSA application form. Leaving fields blank could lead to people assuming answers for what the student did not include. He told students if they are not sure of what to put in the blank, put zero.

Many students at TCC transfer to various four-year universities, and several opportunities for financial aid are available through transfer scholarships.

McMullen told students the deadlines to receive those scholarships are surprisingly early. He advised students to visit the Web sites of the universities they are considering to find out their deadlines.

He also said many other financial aid opportunities are given out on a first-come, first-served basis, so students should not wait to apply.

The most important part of filling out the FAFSA form is checking what has been filled out, McMullen said.

Students should be careful about spelling, legibility and numbers.

“Triple check everything,” he said.

At the end of the seminar, McMullen took questions. He told students to feel free to see financial aid advisors for more information.

“We want you to be successful,” he said.

Ashley Hahn, a NE Campus student, said she found the presentation informative and will apply for financial aid in the future.

“There are more programs and more money than I thought,” she said.

TCC’s home page has links to several Web sites regarding financial aid.

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