September 16, 2009
Free money, free help Staff Writer
With the economy weak, financial aid programs can be very helpful to students. Many students choose not to seek out financial aid, despite many programs that are available to them. It is important to remember that financial aid can do more than cover tuition and books, and according to pamphlets from the financial aid office, students do not even need to attend college full time or be a U.S. citizen to enjoy the benefits of financial aid. There are two types of financial aid: aid that is needbased, and aid that is merit based (meaning that it is earned). The most common form of financial aid is federal aid, which is need-based. To qualify for federal financial aid, students must file a FAFSA (Free Application for
Many students are taking advantage of the benefits of the financial aid office Federal Student Aid), which will determine how much aid a particular student will get. Although applying for a FAFSA is a long process, Financial Aid Clerk Teddie Little says it is best to stick with it. “There are a lot of [students] that don’t hand in the documents,” she said. “Their files are never complete and they are not rewarded.” Even though the FAFSA is centered on federal aid, it also determines how much money a student will receive on a state level. Because of this, when students file their FAFSA report they automatically apply for a Cal Grant. While the FAFSA is available at the Cuesta financial aid office, it is preferred by students to apply online at www. fafsa.ed.gov. Applying online
Below left Ricardo Higaretta and Heather Larson and wait for financial aid staff.
is easier and is twice as fast as applying with a non-electronic FAFSA. Many students file a FAFSA and find that they were not able to receive any or enough federal aid. However, these students should not give up hope, as many options are still available. A little research can go a long way. Many scholarships go undiscovered by students who would have qualified. Students do not have the time to actively look for financial aid. Thanks to the Internet, students and parents do not have to search hard for the free money financial aid provides. Sites like www. fastweb.com will send e-mail to their users with a variety of financial aid programs so that the only searching students and parents have to do is checking their e-mail. With this feature, users choose from a variety of programs with little effort. Even if students need a student loan, the Federal Stafford Loan Program is available to most students. Cuesta also offers a Stafford Loan Workshop two or three times every month until November. “They explain […] the responsibilities of taking out a loan,” Little said. “And how you have to pay it back.” Workshop dates are at the financial aid office which is open from Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Creig P. Sherburne/Cuestonian
By Kyle Kolsbun
Kelsey Dunn, a Nursing student will be saving money with student discounts.
Student ID card makes everything better By Creig P. Sherburne Staff writer
Buying a $10 Associated Students of Cuesta College ID not only benefits students with a slew of discounts, but also funds nearly every fun event on campus. What’s more, student leaders say, it contributes enormously to other programs and services like tutoring, free lap swimming, and the library. By show ing a n ASCC ID, students are eligible for discounts on everything except books in both Cuesta bookstores, and bus passes. Discounts are also offered at many San Luis Obispo County businesses for things such as oil changes, haircuts, food, gyms, and even Apple computers. “The lion’s share of our funding is from ASCC ID Card sales,” said Josh Shepherd,
ASCC President. “But it could be a lot more.” For the 2009/10 fiscal year, the ASCC will be putting this money toward, among other things: • • • • •
$10,000 to tutoring $5,000 to bus pass discounts $5,000 into the library $20,000 into Cuesta sports $15,000 will go toward food, concerts, and other events.
The ASCC has also committed more than $19,000 toward a Wi-Fi connection in the Student Center and cafeteria areas, expected to go live in September, said Shepherd. Student IDs can be picked up in room 5312 on the San Luis Obispo campus, and in room N2003 on the North County campus.