By Diego Olivares
Students enrolling at East Los Angeles College need to plan how they use their financial aid before it reaches its limits.
New and returning students depend on financial aid to help with problemss such as lack of employment or need of extra cash.
One mistake students make is believing that financial aid grants them unlimited funds.
The truth of the matter is that financial aid does have limitations.
One form of financial aid payment is the Pell Grants. This allows students to earn money without paying it back.
According to a U.S. News report, the Pell Grant has a 600 percent rate to offer students. While that might sound like a lot, it only covers six years of a student’s college education.
Many students believe that the 600 percent is for a single college. They feel that after using it up, they could apply to another college to renew it.
The 600 percent Pell Grant limit is for the student’s overall lifetime. Once used up, it can never be renewed.
The Pell Grant Limit is to cover a student’s financial aid for the six as follows: Two years covering community college, which is 200 percent. The remaining 400 percent is to cover a four-year university.
Once the grants are used up, the alternative form of financial aid is through loans.
Loans come with heavy stress, as it means months or even years of repayment plus interest.
As a student, I first applied for financial aid back in 2010 at another college.
I was awarded a Pell Grant for my first semester.
This lead to a foolish belief that my future years of education would be unlimitedly covered.
I started a new course at ELAC, thinking Pell Grants would continued to be rewarded to me in the coming years.
It wasn’t until spring of last year that reality set in.
Having heard about Financial Aid limitation, I was directed to a Federal Financial Aid Resource website.
On the site, my Pell Grant percentage level was 100 percent. This meant that only a year was left for my lifetime Pell Grant earnings.
I would never be eligible for the Pell Grant earning ever again. My school is paid mainly from my day job.
Not planning out my financial aid course had lead me to this. Not having a plan could lead other students into trouble similar to this.
Students who apply for financial aid for the first time need to plan ahead. Conversations with both counselors and financial aid advisers on a monthly basis could help.
This allows students to come up with a strong education plan. It could also be planned carefully in conjunction with the Financial Aid office.
This form of planning allows students to carefully calculate their financial aid for future years.
This also allows students to have additional money needed for a four-year university if they decide to transfer.
Websites such as the Federal Student Aid site could help in calculating a student’s remaining Pell Grant.
Having a back-up plan can also be helpful. Looking up articles about paying for colleges and talking to financial aid advisors can aid in this.
According to Bright Hub, there are alternative ways to pay for college. This includes applying for scholarships and finding on-campus jobs through work-study programs.
Being awarded money for college is a nice luxury, but it shouldn’t be taken advantage of without concern.