How do you pay for college?
“It all begins with the FAFSA.” That’s what Eastern Shore Community College financial aid coordinator Carole Read says is the answer to the question in the title.
You want to go to college, learn a new skill, or get re-trained—you want to say YES! to your future—but you don’t know how you are going to pay for it. Have you ever heard of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)? Filling out the FAFSA is the first step to getting financial aid. It’s free!
FAFSA is the application required by all colleges in awarding federal student aid to those who qualify. Also, most colleges use FAFSA data to award state aid, institutional funds, and some scholarships.
For example, ESCC’s YES! Tuition Promise and Take Two program require students to apply for aid through FAFSA so that the federal aid gets applied to the student’s tuition before aid provided by the college or ESCC Foundation. The YES! Tuition Promise is Your Eastern Shore Community College’s commitment to find all available sources of aid to reduce or eliminate the cost of attendance at ESCC.
Take Two is a program for students graduating high school this year to take one or two classes for free at ESCC this summer—but enrollees must complete a FAFSA. ESCC vice president Dr. Tompkins explained, “By using federal funds first, we are able to stretch the Foundation dollars to serve more students and at a greater level of aid.”
The 2021-22 FAFSA opened on October 1, 2020. So, if you are interested in attending school for the 2021-22 academic year, you need to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible.
Most state grants and institutional funds are limited and awarded on a first come, first serve basis. Grants are free money you usually do not have to pay back as long as you stay enrolled or complete your program. You don’t want to miss out on federal or state grants because you applied late. Don’t wait until the last minute to apply!
Here at Your Eastern Shore Community College we are worried that our graduating high school students and adults who want to upskill or switch jobs may miss out on classes this summer and fall because they have not submitted the FAFSA.
Dr. Shaeffer, ESCC’s president stated, “There were 43,000 fewer FAFSA applications in Virginia this year. That’s not a good sign for potential students, their families, or our community.”
It is because of this risk that Gov. Northam established a free tool where 2020 and 2021 Virginia high school graduates can schedule a virtual meeting to get help completing the FAFSA: virginiacan.org/fafsa.
And any member of the community may get in-person or virtual assistance from ESCC’s Carole Read, who has over 28 years of experience in financial aid. She has a passion for serving the Shore and would be pleased to assist you and your family with the FAFSA.
For more information or assistance, visit ESCC’s website, come to campus Monday-Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 757-789-1720.