Students And Parents Learn About Financial Aid

If you are a college student, or the parent of one, you know going to college can be expensive. That's why seminars like one held Monday night at USM Gulf Coast are so important. It's all about financial aid and how to get it. "I think that most parents know there is financial aid, it is just how do I get it," says Peggy Slade, who works for the Institutes of Higher Learning and spends much of her time, telling prospective students and their parents, about getting money to help with college.   Says Slade, "They all wonder, where do I go, how many pieces of paper do I have to sign to accomplish this."

For some students, financial aid can be the difference between going to college, or not going. Dinah Barnes is a senior at USM Gulf Coast, ''It is not costing me anything, I promise, it is the greatest thing, it is just wonderful they country can do that for people of all ages, " Barnes said. "I have explained it to some of my friends, they did not understand how it worked, they thought if you go to college, even if you get a grant you have to pay it back, that is not true," according to Barnes.

If you are interested in getting some financial help for college, talk to the right people, fill out the proper paperwork and do it soon. Peggy Slade reminds students and their parents, "Universities have early deadlines, they have deadlines that sometimes are as early as february 15th, or march first or march 15th."

Here at USM, they are doing a good job getting the word out, because many students do get some financial help. Director of financial aid, Rose Bremenkamp, says the majority of students get some help. "According to the last survey we did last fall, we had about 70 percent getting financial aid, be it federal or state or maybe tuition assistance with the military," said Bremenkamp. Among the types of financial aid are grants, loans and scholarships.

By Jeff Lawson