Chula Vista Registration for spring semester at Southwestern College (SWC) is underway and College officials want students to remember one important thing: Don’t forget to apply for financial aid.
“We are reminding students that financial aid is available to help them pay for their education,” said Arthur López, Financial Aid Director at Southwestern College. “The money is out there. All you have to do is apply.”
According to a recent study done by the American Council on Education, about eight million college students fail to apply for financial aid each year. At SWC, there are about 8,000 students taking enough credit hourssix units or more per semesterthat could possibly qualify for financial aid but have not yet applied.
“All it takes is filling out one simple application,” added López. “Everyone has a right to apply and applying is completely free. Why not do it?”
Some of the reasons students give for not soliciting financial aid include:
• Students think they don’t qualify and don’t know the many types of financial aid available.
• Students feel intimidated by the application process and don’t know that they can get free help when filling out the forms.
• There is a perception that students can’t get financial aid to attend a community college.
In October, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office launched a public awareness campaign to inform students that financial aid is available and that many more could qualify due to the recent student fee increasefrom $18 to $26 per unit. The campaign also promotes www.icanaffordcollege.com, a web site developed to connect students with the financial aid offices in their area.
At Southwestern College, Financial Aid employees have been busy notifying students that could qualify for financial aid to apply for it. Last summer, a postcard went out to students reminding them to fill out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (www.fafsa.ed.gov) and GPA verification forms, which would also serve to determine their eligibility for the state’s Cal Grant Programs. Also, the statement Financial Aid is Available! has become standard in every print ad and radio and television commercial promoting the College.