By Melody Ortiz
Students learned about the financial aid process during the Financial Aid Awareness Day event Thursday at noon in front of the E3 building.
The event was hosted by Financial Aid Office Assistant Gladys Rodriguez and she explained the purpose of the event.
Financial Aid Awareness Day is used to inform students of the main topics of the Financial Aid process and to answer frequently asked questions.
Participating students received a questionnaire in the form of a scavenger hunt.
Rodriguez said that students would be given the answers by visiting each table at the event and asking the scavenger hunt questions to the assistants, who are usually the ones behind the windows in the Financial Aid Office.
Each table focused on a different topic pertaining to Financial Aid.
Rodriguez answered questions at table one, which focused on what they refer to as “the basics.”
She informed students at her table of a few grants that financial aid offers including Pell grants, Cal grants, and the Governor’s Fee Waiver.
Rodriguez said that the fee waiver covers only the cost of a student’s classes.
Students who have forgotten their login information can call 1-800-433-3243 to reset their passwords or recover their IDs.
Other topics included the SIS Portal, BankMobile and Financial Aid Services. Though different assistants managed different tables, all of them could help with any of the questions.
Sonny Martinez answered students’ questions on the subject of Pell Grants.
Martinez said students’ maximum Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) is six years for a full-time student.
“If you are half-time for two years, that’s one whole year,” he said, meaning if a student took half the units of a full-time student for two years, that would count as one year of LEU.
Martinez said students stay up-to-date because the rules and qualifications can change.
The Financial Aid Lab offers assistance with checking students’ financial aid statuses and helping them complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid applications.
The FAFSA takes six to eight weeks to be completed after being submitted to the Financial Aid Office. Students can also sign up for Federal Work Study Financial Aid office.
Assistant Sandy Cornejo said the event was a good way for students to get a one-on-one with those who know all about the process.
The assistants answered any questions students had that were not on the questionnaire.
Students were given a folder of useful pamphlets and flyers on financial aid as well as a goodie bag.
After completing the scavenger hunt, students spun a wheel to determine their prizes.
Prizes included piggy banks and t-shirts.
Students who would like to check how much of their Pell Grant they have used up, can visit the webiste www.nslds.ed.gov.
Students can check their financial aid status at the Fiscal Office or by visiting fafsa.ed.gov.
The Financial Aid Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, but closes at 3 p.m. on Fridays.
Applications for the 2018-2019 FASFA are now open for applications as of October 1.
“We recommend you do it now,” said Martinez. “If you apply earlier, students usually qualify for more.”