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How to Get More Money to Pay for College

Stetson University will begin offering presentations and workshops next week to help students tap into more than $120 billion in federal financial aid given out each year.

Beth Anne Kieft

Beginning Monday, Oct. 23, Stetson’s Office of Student Financial Planning will host presentations and workshops to help students learn about FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and fill out applications for the 2018-19 academic year, said Beth Anne Kieft, MBA ’15, Stetson’s Director of Financial Aid.

Part of the U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid provides more than $120 billion in federal grants, loans and work-study funds each year to 13 million students, according to the federal website.

Last year, about 2,000 Stetson students on the DeLand campus filled out the annual request for aid. Stetson’s financial aid staff would like to encourage more students to apply – and as soon as possible. The application process for the 2018-19 academic year began on Oct. 1, 2017, and some grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, said Regina Oltorik, a Stetson Financial Aid specialist.

Filling out the online application can take about 30 minutes, but many students have questions. Students can visit Stetson One Stop on the second floor of the Rinker Welcome Center or attend the upcoming events:

  • Monday, Oct. 23: FAFSA Presentation to help better your understanding of the FAFSA and the Basics of Financial Aid, 11 a.m. – noon, first floor of the Rinker Welcome Center.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 25: FAFSA Workshop in a computer lab to allow attendees to review and start their FAFSA for 2018-19, 4:30-5:30 p.m., LBC Room 317.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 8: FAFSA Presentation to help better your understanding of the FAFSA and the Basics of Financial Aid, 11 a.m. – noon, first floor of the Rinker Welcome Center.
  • Monday, Nov. 13: FAFSA Workshop in a computer lab to allow attendees to fill out and review their FAFSA for 2018-19, 4:30-5:30 p.m., LBC Room 322.

Financial aid is awarded based on a student’s need. However, even students who think their parents earn too much money should still apply because they can be offered federally backed student and parent loans with “competitive interest rates,” Oltorik said.

Regina Oltorik

Maximum available funding by applying for the FAFSA includes:

  • Pell Grant — up to $5,920;
  • Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant — up to $4,000;
  • Florida Assistance Grant — up to $2,610;
  • Unsubsidized loan — up to $7,500;
  • Parent loans — up to the cost of attendance.

If eligible, Florida residents can also receive the Bright Futures Scholarship, which provides up to $7,352 for Academic Scholars and $2,464 for the Medallion level. They also receive the Florida Resident Access Grant for $3,300 as long as at least one parent has been a resident for a minimum of one year.

The FAFSA presentations and workshops will take place as the Office of Student Financial Planning gets ready for its Financial Literacy Week, Nov. 13-Nov. 17. The office has a calendar of events to provide information on the financial decisions that students face throughout life, including saving, budgeting, handling debt, identity protection, credit, homeownership, investing options and saving for college.

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