Paying for college could be easier than you think - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/25/09

Paying for college could be easier than you think

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LEVELLAND, TX (KCBD) - At South Plains College, financial aid officers stress just how important it is to fill out a FAFSA form, which, they say, may not be as hard as it appears.

Elizabeth Silva did not attend college immediately after graduating from high school because she didn't think she could afford it. "That's why it took me so long because you think that it's so much paperwork and feels like it will be overwhelming. It's not. If I would have known there would have been people really glad to help you then I would have did it a long time ago," said Silva. 

It all starts with filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, form. "There is a lot of financial aid out there and once you've done the FAFSA the first time, it's a breeze, You'll sit back and think that was easy," said South Plains College Director of Financial Aid Jim Ann Batenhorse. 

Even if you don't qualify for a federal grant, Batenhorse says there are still other options. "If you don't qualify for grants there are student loans out there and of course most of us don't want to get into any extra debt, but the point is there is money to go to college. A lot of people think that college is not an option that they can't fulfill their dreams, but it is," said Batenhorse. 

If you do qualify for a federal grant, remember attending a community college could save you more money in the long run. "[With] A federal Pell Grant you can qualify for the same amount of money no matter where you attend, So obviously if you spend less money on fees, tuition and books, you have a little more in your pocket for gasoline and living expenses and things of that nature," said Batenhorse. 

If parents or students have any questions that's what the "College is Texans" phone bank on Wednesday is all about.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is hosting the "College for Texans" phone bank Wednesday in Austin. A program to help students and parents get helpful information on how to pay for college.

Each year $4 billion is available to Texas students in many forms, but most of that money goes unclaimed. That's why NewsChannel 11's Abner Euresti was in Austin Wednesday with live reports on important information for families on financial aid all day.

To get that information, click here to visit the College for all Texans website.

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