Everything you need to know about financial aid

FAMU’s Office of Financial Aid is located in the Cass building. Photo credit: Skylor Davis

Financial Aid at colleges and universities provides students with additional funding while attending a post-secondary educational institution.

FAMU’s Office of Financial Aid has implemented a fully integrated financial aid system.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an online program used by the federal government to decide a family’s financial eligibility to pay for college.

Nigel D. Edwards, associate vice president for Student Affairs/Administration and Assessment, said the key for a successful financial aid school year is to file early.

“File early, the FAFSA is available starting Oct.1 each year,” Edwards said. “Review the output document called a student aid report (SAR) sent to you from the people at FAFSA. Make an appointment with your assigned financial aid adviser in the spring to determine what additional documents are required before receiving your financial aid award.”

Students often complain about the lack of funding provided to them through financial aid, and Edwards expressed his concerns regarding the complaints.

“The biggest downfall is not having sufficient funds to address all of the financial needs of our students,” Edwards said. “It is a familiar refrain sung by financial aid offices across the country. While this isn’t an easy fix, it can be remedied by increasing the amount of gift aid made available to students by the Department of Education [Pell, SEOG], increasing our alumni giving, and improving our students’ financial literacy. All of these items taken together will assist in enhancing the success currently associated with financial aid.”

Despite not having sufficient funds, FAMU’s Office of Financial Aid granted students $5,000 through the CARES Act and the American Recovery Plan.

“The additional funds were made available to universities through the most recent CARES Act and the American Recovery Plan,” Edwards said. “FAMU funneled a significant portion of these extra funds to students to address any additional financial concerns brought on by the current pandemic. Please remember, grant or gift aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.”

Unikique Murray, a senior health science major, was thankful for  the recent CARES Act granted to students.

“Words can’t express how grateful I was to receive the $5,000 grant,” Murray said. “I am very thankful because I don’t have to pay out of pocket this semester, and I can save money for other expenses.”

Tony Benjamin, a senior health science major, reflected on how much financial aid has helped him throughout his college career.

“I visit financial aid often, about a few times each semester,” Benjamin said. “They are always helpful and cooperative. Financial aid has always answered any questions regarding concerns I had about grants. They have even guided me to get a better understanding on the difference between loans. Sometimes, I visit the financial aid tab on FAMU’s website for additional information. I advise new students to get well acquainted and familiar with the faculty in financial aid because they are truly there to help.”

Financial aid is located in the CASS building, Suite 203 and additional information can be found at famu.edu under the financial aid tab.