Spring brings FAFSA deadlines

The time is narrowing down for students applying for financial aid to meet the early deadline by March 1. By doing so, students will have better chances of getting their money on time.

“Students not turning in their FAFSA packets and renewals on time is one of the main reasons for a delay in their financial aid process,” said La Saundra Floyd, assistant financial aid director.

She said students need to apply for financial aid between Jan. 1 and Mar. 1.

“Doing so will allow ample enough time for aid to be processed,” she said.

“The earlier, the better.”

Some students said they have seen great improvements in receiving their aid disbursements on time over the last two years.

“I believe it was a good idea when former President Fred Gainous came into office in 2002 and ordered designated offices throughout Foote-Hilyer to extend hours until 7 p.m.,” said Channell Solomon, 20, a third-year CIS student from Bowie, Md.

“He also had them open on the weekends until many of the students’ issues were resolved. I really got a lot accomplished.”

Some said they believed students were dropping the ball when it came to getting their information in.

“I feel that it is a two-way street here. If we do our part as students by getting our information in on time, and the advisers in financial aid do their part as well, then the process would go much smoother,” said Rodney Johnson, 21, a junior English student.

Floyd said first-time Stafford Loan borrowers must remember to complete a Mapster Promissory Note and the Entrance Loan Counseling. Both can be completed on the Internet at http://www.famu.edu.

Students who are awarded Perkins Loans need to also complete a personal data sheet along with the same requirements as a Stafford Loan borrower, she added.

Floyd said there are a few things that students can do to assist in making the financial aid process much smoother.

“Students need to make sure they have access to OurFamu to check aid status,” she said.

“Make sure no additional documents are needed, if so respond as soon as possible and copy all documents submitted to the financial aid office.”

Finally, Floyd urged students not to procrastinate.

“Don’t wait until the last minute, apply early for maximum aid eligibility and always keep address and phone information updated.”

Contact Sherika Tisby at miss_tisby@yahoo.com.