Published: Friday, September 12, 2008
Many students may have wondered why they had to stand in multiple long lines for financial aid at the start of the semester.
Karen Kessler, director of financial aid, said the main reason for the “long lines” was the lack of prepared students. She said the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available Jan. 1 each year.
“Students time and time again wait until the last minute to get it done, and sometimes it’s just too late,” Kessler said.
Procrastination may be a key factor in delaying the process for financial aid, but that isn’t the only thing keeping your money behind locked doors. Because of new federal laws, the amount of documentation needed to complete a FAFSA has increased and is needed to verify one’s status.
Kessler said when students do complete the FAFSA, they don’t check on their aid status until the very last minute, and that also delays the process for receiving their money.
Sabra Jernigan is in her last semester at PJC and the last thing she wanted to do was delay finishing her degree by not getting financial aid in time to attend classes.
“I filled out the FAFSA really early this year, but found out too late that I didn’t qualify. So, now I’ve had to apply for a loan, which is something I never wanted to do,” said Jernigan.
Dr. James Martin, vice president of student affairs, offers scholarships on a need basis through his department. The scholarships are for students who don’t qualify for financial aid, but need help getting the money needed to attend college.
Martin said his main goal is to make sure he can help as many students as he can.
“I’m here to do whatever I can to make sure students succeed here at PJC,” said Martin.
Both Martin and Kessler agreed that “there is always room for improvement,” and they are trying to improve by giving more opportunities for financial aid to hard-working students.