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Financial Aid and the Money Maze, Part 1: Mining for Money | New


“I understand that financial aid can be scary and confusing, therefore, I want you to know that we, as a team, are here to help and that you are not alone. If you need help understanding how to complete a document, any questions when filling out FAFSA or CADAA applications, or understanding the award letter, please don’t hesitate to contact us! But in the meantime, I hope that this series, Financial Aid and the Money Maze, will give you the opportunity to learn about the services we offer, how to contact us and, most importantly, what we are here for. you.

Landy Gonzalez-Hernandez, Temp worker. Deputy Director of the Office of Financial Aid and Awards (FASO)

This is part 1 in a series of 4 parts

Landy Gonzalez-Hernandez, deputy director of the Office of Financial Aid and Awards, shared a few words of wisdom for students facing financial aid. (Graphic by Samantha Tonarelli)

Paying for college is expensive. As a result, many students here in Stanislaus State have to apply for as much financial aid as possible to avoid personal expense. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to choose from.

“Students have access to many types of aids to help them finance their academic careers, such as subsidized loans, unsubsidized loans, state and university scholarships, in addition to regular federal financial aid.” said Christina Goodeill, financial aid advisor with the Stan State Bureau of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

But eligibility for these types of aid is limited by the expected family contribution (EFC) from the FAFSA application and the cost of attending college.

“The total sum of the student’s financial aid, whether it is loans, grants, scholarships or study and work funds, cannot exceed the estimated cost of his tuition”, Goodeill explained. “So what happens is we take the cost of attendance, subtract the EFC students contribution from their FASFA – which gives us their ‘unmet need’. Then from there we give them scholarships and other kinds of help.

This “unmet need” affects many students in Stan State, even those who are eligible for financial aid. For a student with a high CFE who is not eligible for federal financial aid, like Christian Capuno (junior, chemistry and biology), many of these options are not available.

For Capuno, the only types of aid he can claim are scholarships and college scholarships, which he uses to pay his tuition fees.

“I typically get around 75% of my tuition and fees in the form of scholarships and grants,” Capuno explained.

Navigating how to apply for these scholarships can be quite intimidating and this is what brings students to Katrin Shahbaz, the scholarship coordinator at the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

“Sometimes students feel like it’s more intimidating than it actually is. Until we sit down and explain it to the students, it’s worrying, ”Shahbaz explained.

Katrin often finds it helpful to divide scholarships into two main categories: on-campus scholarships and external scholarships.

On-campus scholarships are what she gets the most questions about when students ask about the scholarship process or ask for help applying for specific scholarships.

“As the Campus Scholarship Coordinator, I assist students with any questions regarding campus scholarships or if they need assistance in submitting a scholarship application on the campus, ”Shahbaz said.

These on-campus scholarships consist of two main types: need-based scholarships and merit-based scholarships. Most merit-based scholarships come in the form of specific major scholarships, while many need-based scholarships come in the form of scholarships awarded by the financial aid office itself.

Capuno applies for a number of these scholarships on campus, and for him, the application is simple and straightforward.

“It’s not too difficult, but it takes a while to complete,” he said.

The app is also easy to access and can be found under Scholarship Information on the Office of Financial Aid and Awards website. All you need to do is click ‘Apply Now’, log into the scholarship portal using your StanState login details, and verify your identity using the Duo two-step verification code. .

Access the campus scholarship portal

The Financial Aid page on the Stan State website has links to several services to help answer any questions students may have. (Screenshot by JC Aguirre)

The general application form will ask for your basic information, then a few short paragraphs about your educational and professional goals, any community service you’ve performed, and honorable awards or extracurricular activities you’ve engaged in.

It will also give you the option to download documentation to help improve the quality of your application. Shahbaz recommends that students prepare this material in advance.

One of the cool features of this general app is the ability to save and continue editing later, which Christian really appreciates. “It’s really useful, especially if you don’t have a lot of time to complete the application all at once. ”

Once the application is complete, students can submit it and their application will automatically be submitted to any scholarships in the system to which they are eligible.

“Some scholarships do not require any additional information. The system will automatically submit a scholarship application for the student, ”Shahbaz explained.

In addition, the system will automatically provide the student with a list of “recommended” scholarships for which they can consider applying.

However, while they may be eligible for these scholarships, they require more information than general application requests.

“All of our scholarships have criteria,” Shahbaz said. “These criteria are generally fixed by the donor, when he sets up the scholarship fund. These will be scholarships that will require additional information, or it will be a question to which they will have to answer, a declaration to which they are going to submit. or a letter of recommendation, they must apply electronically.

It may take a long time to put together. Fortunately, students have plenty of time with these materials. According to Shahbaz, “the general scholarship application opens on November 1 of each year; the deadline for submission is March 2, ”which gives students ample time to gather the documents required to apply for these scholarships.

For scholarships that require letters of recommendation, “the system allows students to provide the recommender’s name and email address.”

Once they submit, Shahbaz says the system sends an email to the recommender to inform them that the student has requested a letter of recommendation. It will give the referrer a link to log in and electronically submit the letter of recommendation.

Shahbaz believes that it is best for students to inform their referees that they are requesting a letter of recommendation and to do so as soon as possible so as not to put undue pressure on the referees the week before the application deadline. .

Financial aid, including on campus scholarships, is applied to unpaid tuition fees, and if any funds remain, they are sent to the student by check or direct deposit.

Delfin Guillory, manager at the cashier’s office (also known as the student financial services department), put it this way: “The student financial services department is responsible for applying a student’s scholarships to the fees. tuition, while financial aid informs financial services of a student’s rewards.

Scholarships may seem complicated, but if you take them step by step, you can be on your way to financial independence and academic success. Thinking of all the scholarships he applied for, Capuno said something extremely poignant.

“I would definitely say that the financial burden for me would be much heavier without these scholarships,” he said.

Campus scholarships are only a fraction of the total aid a student can get from private sources. In addition to the presence of scholarships on campus, there are also external scholarships and emergency grants.

We’ll talk about grants next time, as well as how on-campus scholarships are awarded and the often difficult distinction between student financial services and the financial aid office. Stay tuned!

If you have any questions about these internal scholarships or the general scholarship application, contact Katrin Shahbaz at [email protected] The Office of Financial Aid and Awards will be hosting scholarship workshops in the coming months. The first will take place on November 23, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. To find out the dates and times of the other workshops, click here.

If you would like to make an appointment with a financial aid advisor to discuss scholarships, go to the financial aid website to schedule a virtual financial aid counseling appointment.