Time running out to apply for financial aid

Published 2:12 pm Friday, July 5, 2013

Attending college this fall? Don’t wait to apply for federal financial assistance and risk having to pay out of pocket, say LBW Community College officials.

“Time is quickly running out to apply for student financial aid, such as Federal Pell Grant funds through the U.S. Department of Education,” said Renee LeMaire, LBWCC public information officer and director of marketing. “To give adequate processing time, now is the time to complete the free online application. The Federal Pell Grant program provides funds to help pay for college to those who qualify. Because it is a grant, the funds do not have to be repaid to the government. If a student is eligible for the full amount, the Grant will more than pay for the cost of tuition, fees and books at LBW, so the student may actually receive a refund check for the difference.”

Students who have already applied can check the “myLBWCC” online at www.lbwcc.edu for their financial aid status, she said.

Email newsletter signup

The maximum amount of a Federal Pell Grant is $5,550 for a year, or $2,775 for each of the two semesters.

“The amount received by qualified students depends on their family’s income, number in household and number in college,”  LeMaire said. “The minimum award is $555.”

The first step is to complete the “Free Application for Federal Student Aid” at www.fafsa.gov. Prospective students must have their 2012 federal income tax forms and, if a dependent, their parents’ 2012 federal income tax forms to complete the FAFSA.

“Once that is done, it takes a week to 10 days to process the application by the U.S. Department of Education, provided everything is completed as required, including proper signatures,” LeMaire said.

If the student is eligible, LBWCC’s financial aid office will send an email asking about campus selection. Once the student responds, the college will begin processing the grant request, according to LeMaire.

If selected for verification, additional documentation may be required. This includes a verification worksheet and proof of income for 2012.  All required documents must be completed and received by the financial aid office before it can be processed.

Processing an application takes approximately two weeks or more depending on the volume of applications received. The financial aid office will then send an award letter stating the amount for which the student is eligible.

Processing by the federal government and the college all takes time. Anyone interested in attending college or applying for a Federal Pell Grant must start immediately to ensure everything is in place before the start of fall semester. Students must also provide a valid email address to assist in timely processing.

If the application and all required documents are received in time, eligible students can charge their tuition, fees and books for fall semester. If the processing is incomplete as of Aug. 20, eligible students will have to pay tuition and fees at the time of registration and be reimbursed after processing is complete.

“It is important to realize that if an applicant does not hear from the college, it is his or her responsibility to contact the financial aid office. During peak times, it is suggested the student visit the financial aid office in person and bring all the necessary documents,” LeMaire said.

For more information, call the LBWCC financial aid office on the campus of attendance. Call (334) 881-2272 in Andalusia; in Opp, call (334) 493-5338; or in Greenville, call (334) 383-6702.