Meeting Financial Need

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Published on October 22, 2014

Financial Aid grants are available for those who may need extra funds to pay for their schooling, right? Well, not for everyone.

Some students in need of financial aid, can’t receive it because he or she does not qualify for it. If a student is still living with a parent, or parents, Financial Aid wants the parents to provide a previous tax return.

For example, if a student’s parent loses their job in 2014, but FAFSA wants 2013 information, what should that student do?

Now at this point, a student in this situation would have to pay on their own or try to apply for a loan.

There should be another outlet for students whose circumstances may have changed or don’t meet FAFSA’s criteria.

Usually, students are told by the Financial Aid office to look into taking out a loan that he or she would have to pay back, but who wants to owe money?

By doing this, the school sends a message to students that basically says you don’t have enough money, so borrow our money and you could owe us interest bearing money later…hmm.

Taking out a loan backs a student into a corner with no financial help available in the present and future, depending on how a much a student borrows.

If a student has to borrow money for now and for the future, how bright will that future look? Strapped with overwhelming debt that they could be paying off well into their thirties and even their forties.

Not a very positive way for any student to start their career after graduation.

“Once that student has 6 credits left or less to graduate, then they have to start paying it off,” said Amy Poskus, who assists students in finding a loan that fits their needs .

Next up, is the haunting option of a student paying through his or her own pocket…Ouch!!

It’s not a pleasant feeling for a student who may have other responsibilities or just doesn’t have the money!

Constantly wondering where the money is going to come from to pay a school bill could create a stressful environment and a person could pop one of their blood vessels out of place.

Full time students who decide to take four classes, would have to cough up at least $2,000 …yes, I said $2,000.  This amount is not a vast one if you compare it to other state schools in Connecticut, but it can be a handful for a person struggling financially.

“It’s cheap compared to other colleges, but I had to pay some money that I didn’t really have,” said Kaylen Powell, a 19-year-old freshman at HCC.

So what should a student do now?

Maybe try to apply for a scholarship if he or she qualifies for it.

Most scholarships require the students to have at least a 2.4 GPA or higher.

“Usually for a student to apply for a HCC scholarship, they should have at least 2.4 or 2.5 GPA,” said Cindy Cominsky, the Scholarship Administrator for HCC.

What if a student is hard working but does not quite match up to those expectations?

“I mean there are other scholarships available out there, but a student is going to have to really search,” Poskus said.

Besides these options, I believe that there should be another way for students to obtain money regardless of their GPA. As long as that student works hard and has good intentions for the need of money, then it should be given to them. There are a number of grant possibilities and there is a government website that lists them. It’s difficult to navigate and it takes a lot of time, but surely it’s worth the effort if it means saving money that could be used for more pressing matters.

HCC should find a way to offer students the much needed help searching out government grants and provide the help many students in financial need by at least giving them alternate options to high interest loans.