ELIDA — Finding money to pay for college can be a challenge for any student or parent.
Wednesday night, Elida High School hosted a Financial Aid Night to help make the process a bit clearer.
“If they don’t complete the FAFSA [Free Application for Federal Student Aid] they don’t qualify for any grants, which are scholarships basically from the government that don’t have to be paid back. They will not qualify for any parent loans, any student loans. They have to complete for FAFSA in order for that to even be a part of their opportunity. If they don’t do that, then it’s totally out of pocket or any outside scholarships,” said Steve Smith, Elida High School Guidance Counselor.
Smith says there are scholarships out there for the taking.
“It’s just of matter of going out and searching. We can provide places for them to see and try and find scholarships. We have a number of local scholarships that really don’t come into play until after the first of the calendar year but there are some national scholarships. We have them posted on our website,” he said.
Filing for FAFSA has already begun. The season started October 1st.
During the Financial Aid Night, Smith detailed the steps toward applying for FAFSA.
“They have to get a FSA ID, get that established, Both the kids and the parents have to have their own, then they can begin filing the FAFSA,” he said.
Filing for FAFSA is something that should be done sooner than later.
“The latest I know of is the end of our school year. Each college has their own deadline. From personal experience at Ohio State, my daughter’s had to be done by Feb. 1.
There was “new changes they made the last couple of years to FAFSA, where it’s called the prior year. When my daughter first started out in college we were doing our taxes right as soon as the new year started using that information and going into do the FAFSA. Now it’s based on the prior year so the information they are going to use to fill out their FAFSA is from their taxes in 2016 that were completed last April,” he said.
“We want to encourage them to do it [file for FAFSA] as soon as they can there’s only a certain amount of federal dollars. Once those federal dollars are used up, now they’re on their own,” Smith added.