6 Quick Tips to Understanding Financial Aid

Posted on 01 July 2013 by admin

Know the Process, Navigating Financial Aid

By: DORIAN ROBERTS
News Editor

Financial aid is a resource for students who do not want to pay for school out of pocket. If a student wishes to receive Federal Pell Grants, scholarships or any other types of aid, it is important they visit the Financial Aid Office to get information about the steps they need to take. While financial aid is not absolutely necessary, knowing the process and the steps needed is an experience all students should have if they plan to continue school after Meramec. Even if students do not think that they will be eligible for federal or state aid, the Financial Aid Office is also the place where they can get registration papers for scholarships and turning in all said papers. While this can seem overwhelming for students fresh out of high school, the process can be very straightforward and easy to navigate.

#1: Completing the FAFSA
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and can be accessed and completed at http://fafsa.gov. If a student was born on or after Jan. 1, 1990 they are considered a dependent and will need to include his or her parent’s tax information and have their signatures when applying. Be sure to include the STLCC Federal School Code: 002469.
Tip: “Just because you completed a FAFSA for another school doesn’t mean [Meramec] received it. You have to submit a FAFSA for all the schools you apply for,” said Financial Advisor Sarah Steiner, “remember to enter 002469 if applying to STLCC.”
#2: Admissions Office
Once the FAFSA is completed, a student must complete registration. By visiting the Admissions Office at the campus they can register as a student and declare a Major. A student must have Regular Admissions Status, which can be achieved by submitting all college transcripts (or high school transcripts if they have fewer than 15 college credit hours) achieved and completing a Transcript Evaluation Form. Once registered, a student can check his or her status on his or her Banner Self-Service account.
Pitfall: Admissions should be done as soon as possible, as it must be completed in order for financial aid to be awarded.
#3: Requirements for Financial Aid
Banner is the online service for registering for classes and checking the requirements for any financial aid available to a student. He or she can access this by logging into Banner Self-Service, clicking on the Student Services & Financial Aid link, and following the links: Financial Aid – Eligibility – Select Aid Year – Submit. If there is not an option to submit, the financial aid paperwork has either not been submitted or processed yet.
Tip: If a student has forgotten his or her login information they can call the Admissions Office to reset.

#4: Financial Aid Office
When visiting the Financial Aid Office all required documentation must be submitted at the same time, and for returning students an Academic Audit form must also be completed. Check Banner Self-Service for award amounts and disbursement dates.
#5: All New Students
All students going to college for the first time must sign up for the mandatory New Student Registration Workshop. During the workshop students will meet with an academic advisor, review their test scores, discuss appropriate coursework for their first semester of college, learn how to build a class schedule, and learn how to register for classes on Banner Self-Service.
#6: Student Center
Once the new student has completed all the previous steps, they can head to the Student Center and get their STLCC OneCard. In order to get his or her picture taken, a student must be enrolled in classes. The OneCard will arrive in the mail in 7-10 business days. Students should activate the card immediately and choose their refund preferences.

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