Financial Assistance for College

December 5, 2008 8:00:17 PM PST
With so much talk about cuts to education and schools and universities bracing for significant reductions in funding... many students may not realize that financial assistance is still available. Even in these tough economic times, millions of dollars are going "unused" because students simply don't apply.Enrollment at Fresno City College is up 11.5% from last year ... And the numbers keep increasing daily.

"With foreclosures, with people being laid off a lot of them are coming back to FCC or a community college to be retrained, to learn new skills, " says financial aid director Frank Ramon.

People out of work means no money to pay for college. Ramón says students are seeking assistance now more than ever, "We have seen an increase in applications this year."

45-hundred more students have applied for aid this semester at Fresno City College. For the 07-08 school year, F-C-C gave out 34 million dollars in aid. By the end of this year, the college estimates it will give out close to 40-million dollars.

"There is no shortage of funds, but I would encourage students to apply early, apply on time if you need help ask us."

40-year old Heather Swanson did just that about a year ago, when she realized she needed to go back to work, but her options were limited.

Swanson: "They wanted people with BA or AA and I really wasn't going to get anywhere with my high school education and my finances aren't going to be what I want them to be."

Swanson is now working part-time at the financial aid office as she studies towards her AS degree in social work. She receives about 25-hundred dollars a semester to cover tuition and expenses. "All of my registrations were paid for. I was responsible for paying 18 dollars which is for my health fee. "

Like Swanson, close to 80% of F-C-C students currently receive some form of financial aid.

Ramon: "They need to be retrained, they need to learn new skills and community college is the answer for them and at 20 dollars a unit, it's the best deal in town."

For Swanson the best part is knowing she's not only improving herself, but she's setting a good example for her 14-year old daughter. Swanson: "I couldn't tell my child that she could be anything that she wanted, if I wasn't practicing what I was preaching."

So far, funding for federal and state grants has not been reduced, but with the country's economic problems, nothing is certain so financial aid officials say applying early is important. Money is still available for the spring semester. For more information on how to apply for financial aid, contact:

www.icanaffordcollege.com
or call toll-free 1-800-987-ICAN (4226)
The information is in English and Spanish.

www.fresnocitycollege.edu
or call 559-442-8245

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