Financial aid waits for no one

Financial aid deadline is fast approaching.

By Ricardo Varela, Editor-in-chief

The rising cost of education sinks a lot of boats, but a life vest in the form of financial aid is available to Valley College students. The deadline for many state financial aid programs for the academic year is March 2 at 10 p.m. via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA.

When students file a FAFSA, they are automatically enrolled in other financial-aid programs such as Pell Grants, the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), the TEACH Grant, and federal student loans, as well as state financial aid like Cal Grants. The application may be submitted online through fafsa.ed.gov or by mail.

Applicants are encouraged to register for an FSA ID online before filing the application in order to electronically sign it and expedite processing. Relevant student data is also stored in order to pre-fill future applications.

Students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) issued Social Security cards should file a California Dream Act Application instead of a FAFSA. This application is available on the California Student Aid Commission’s site at csac.ca.gov.

“I applied for the Dream Act,” said 18-year-old public relations major Araksya Nordikyan. “I only qualified for the fee waiver, so I had to get a job.”

A Cal Grant submission is automatically made on behalf of the student when a FAFSA or a California Dream Act Application is submitted. Students are also required to submit a school-certified GPA verification form that must be postmarked by March 2. A second Cal Grant deadline, Sept. 2, is exclusively for students of the California Community College system who missed the initial deadline. Funding for awards disbursed from the Sept. 2 filing period are limited, according to Valley’s Financial Aid Office.

LACCD students who file a FAFSA or California Dream Act Application are also automatically considered for the Board of Governors Fee Waiver. The BOG waives tuition fees at all LACCD colleges and is granted based on a review of financial need. BOG students may also qualify for the EOPS/CARE programs if they meet additional requirements, but the deadline for Spring 2016 application has passed.

Students can find help and much more information about these programs in the Student Services Center. The Financial Aid Office is on the first floor and is open Monday through Friday. They can be reached at 818-947-2412 and by email at financialaid@lavc.edu. The EOPS/CARE office is on the second floor and is also open Monday through Friday. They can be reached at 818-947-2432.

“I want to transfer to a private university,” said Nordikyan. “If I stay close to home, I don’t have to dorm there. You have to work to pay for books, and I don’t want to mooch off my parents. I am an adult now.”

Your thoughts?