PDCCC students still have time to file for financial help

Published 8:57 am Friday, April 1, 2011

Paul D. Camp Community College Financial Aid Coordinator Teresa Harrison has reported good news. The summer semester awarding is under way, but there is still time to file a 2010-11 Free Application for Federal Student Aid by the April 23 priority filing date using 2009 federal taxes.

Laid Off Employees/Family

For students who are laid off employees or their spouses, a new program is available to help pay for tuition, fees and books. The On Ramp Grant is available to dislocated workers who are unemployed or underemployed, and spouses who must re-enter the workplace.

Most International Paper employees are covered under the Trade Act, and both Pell and Trade Act grants can be received during the same semester.

Some laid off employees may think they are ineligible for Pell grants due to their earnings. While 1040 taxes as filed must be used to complete the FAFSA, students affected by a layoff are encouraged to file an appeal for unusual circumstances to see if the loss of income results in Pell Grant eligibility.

These students should also apply for an On Ramp Grant. Call 569-6754 or 757-925-6307 by April 15 for information about the grant.

Federal Financial Aid Filing

For fall semester beginning Aug. 22, Harrison advises students to complete the 2011-12 FAFSA by the priority filing deadline of June 1. The earlier students apply, the better the financial aid offer they are likely to get.

The financial aid office has some smaller pots of money that deplete quickly and rewards eligible “early- bird” applicants by awarding them those funds.

Scholarships for graduating high school seniors are available online at www.pdc.edu/paying-for-college.php and at local high school guidance counseling offices. The due date is April 11.

Scholarship applications for fall students will be available on the website April 8. Application materials are also available at the college financial aid offices in Franklin and Suffolk.

The FAFSA is submitted once a year to the Department of Education electronically, at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

A computer is available in the financial aid offices in Franklin and Suffolk, if filing help is needed. No appointment is necessary; students need to bring tax information during office hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday — allowing at least 30 minutes for the application process.

Students filing a FAFSA on their own are should make sure the right website is used. Many financial aid/scholarship scams exist, including ones that ask applicants to pay for filing the FAFSA online. The official website is www.fafsa.ed.gov.

Before starting, each student applicant should obtain a personal identification number at www.pin.ed.gov to speed up the process. If parental information is required, one parent must also apply for and use his PIN to sign the application. The PIN is the applicant’s electronic signature.

By law, no one can apply for, or use another person’s federal aid PIN number; it is the same as signing his name.

Required information for applying include the applicant’s PIN number to sign, copy of applicant’s 2010 federal taxes, copy of spouse’s and parents’ federal taxes, copies of W-2 forms for someone who worked but did not file taxes, Social Security numbers, driver’s license, school codes, untaxed income including child support, worker’s compensation and veterans non-education benefits.

A new feature of the FAFSA this year allows a student to automatically download his IRS tax data into the FAFSA. The taxes need to have been on file with the IRS for two weeks for this process.

Paul D. Camp Community College’s federal school code is 009159 for all location). Applicants should print the confirmation page, which will include the expected family contribution number. This number directly relates to the amount of aid that could be received.

If the financial aid office asks for any other documentation, applicants should reply promptly. A graduating high school student should also provide a transcript copy to the financial aid office to see if additional aid is available

For more details on financial aid, call 569-6715 or 925-6346.