By Connie Hayes
Financial Aid As a returning graduate student who took two years off, coming back to the university has been a big transition. Most noticeably for me is having to learn about financial aid. I attended the graduate workshop given by the Financial Aid Department Jan. 15 and learned a great deal. One of the things I first encountered is that the Financial Aid Department is willing to help all students.
At the workshop, the director of Financial Aid, Ron Radney, hosted the presentation and gave students a chance to understand the semantics of weaving through the financial aid process. Students were encouraged to ask questions throughout the presentation to make sure everyone had a clear understanding. Also present at the workshop was Dr. Vandana Kohli from the graduate department who sat in the audience and asked questions that she thought would be helpful to students. Valari Kirkbride, the Activity Coordinator for the Graduate Student Center, also attended the workshop I went to. When I was in the graduate center a few days later, she was on hand to talk to me about the university’s role in financial aid.
“The Financial Aid Department is very willing to help students out for their needs,” she said. Shortly after attending the meeting, I received an e-mail letting me know that another workshop was being given to walk students through the process of applying for financial aid. This helped me considerably as the thought of dealing with tax forms is overwhelming. I then visited the Financial Aid Department and spoke to Stephanie Perez, who is in charge of imaging and indexing. She started out as a student assistant in the department and was then offered a job upon graduating.
Perez informed me that in the next year a “middle-class scholarship in California for the student aid commission will be available,” and “will start out at 30 to 40 percent of what a student is eligible for. That amount will actually be given to the student and will go up after that.”
Thus proving financial aid for students whose families have middle-class incomes as well. I was also informed by Perez that the CSUB website for financial aid is extremely helpful and most questions can be answered through it. It also gives the direct link for the FAFSA website which student’s access to apply for financial aid. Upon visiting the website myself, the first thing I noticed is the deadline for financial aid, “January 1-March 2: Complete the FAFSA on the web at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov for the upcoming academic year.” Meeting this deadline for the following year is extremely beneficial to students as it gives “Priority deadline to submit the FAFSA to the federal processor for on-time financial aid consideration,” according to the site. Information for the financial aid department can be found at: http://www.csub.edu/finaid/