06/24/09 — WCC: Financial aid available

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WCC: Financial aid available

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 24, 2009 1:46 PM

Financial aid to attend Wayne Community College is available, if students will just apply early enough, college officials say.

The college is "pushing hard" to get students on the campus well ahead of time, college President Dr. Kay Albertson said this week.

"That's one of the biggest challenges that we face on an annual basis, getting students who are considering coming, to get financial aid paperwork completed," she said.

Despite the current depressed economic climate, community colleges usually benefit from shifts in employment as workers return to classrooms for advanced training or to change fields.

The good news is that there's been an increase in financial aid available. It's just a matter of asking for it, Dr. Linda Nelms, vice president of student services, said. "A lot of the money available in aid has been increased this year but students are not applying in time to receive it. There's money out there and in some cases it's more money in certain categories, so they need to apply early and get into the process.

"I want to give every dollar possible to everybody. This year there's more money available that's going unspent."

Even if potential students are wavering about going to college in the fall, it is wise to pursue the possible funding options that are out there, Nelms said.

"We really are encouraging people -- people don't do the preplanning or haven't had the opportunity to preplan -- to go ahead and do some of this preliminary work just in case," she said. "One of the things that has been trying is that a lot of students come in and they're eligible for financial aid but they haven't done it in time for the Department of Ed to process it. That has to be sent in, reviewed and certified."

If at all possible, Nelms said she hopes to prevent that from happening this year.

"We want to do everything we can to get the money in their hands so they can pursue an education. It's not too early and it's definitely not too late," she said.

Much of the preliminary work can be done on the computer, from obtaining applications to submitting the information for approval.

"They can apply online at www.fafsa.ed.gov for anything, one application covers it all. It processes everything they're eligible for," she said.

The college's Web site, www.waynecc.edu, is also a good resource for information about fall registration, which starts next month. New students can register beginning July 13.

The recommended deadline for financial aid applications is July 17, as the state Department of Education has guaranteed paperwork will be processed and returned. After that date, there is no guarantee it will be completed in time for the fall semester, Nelms said.

Students can also visit the financial aid office at the college, open from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. until noon on Friday.