Financial aid cure for budget cut blues

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By Araceli Diaz / Staff Writer

paying for college (Jasmeet Singh / Photo Editor )

By Araceli Diaz / Staff Writer

In the midst of frequent budget cuts throughout Riverside City College, there are still resources available to aid students struggling to pay for college

The RCC financial aid office is managing to provide the same assistance and quality to its students.

“We’ve actually seen an increase in financial aid and we’ve been able to handle the increase without any problems, even with the budget cuts,” said Elizabeth Hutton, director of financial aid.

Every year RCC encourages its students to apply for financial aid via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This resource is free to all students and if students do not believe they qualify it is still recommended to apply.

This year, FAFSA streamlined their website and made it simple to complete the process online. If a student has questions the financial aid office holds workshops to assist students.

“With the economy the way it is, the need is higher and financial aid is becoming more prominent in people’s mind,” Hutton said.

One of the resources available for students with low income is the Board of Governor’s Waiver (BOGW). BOGW waives the enrollment fee for students and could save students hundreds of dollars in fees.

“We really encourage everyone to apply simply for the Board of Governor’s Fee Waiver. You never know if you qualify,” said Hutton.

For students who do not qualify for federal aid, assistance is still available.

The Riverside Community College District Foundation awards scholarships to students from all backgrounds.

“We really work to try and get the word out there about the scholarships. It’s not a huge percentage that apply,” Hutton said.

The possibility of being awarded a scholarship are high since there is a wide array of scholarships and the only ones able to apply are RCC students. There is no competition with outside students.

“The scholarships available are from local organization and donors who only give to RCC students. It’s a very personal scholarship foundation,” Hutton said.

The scholarship program has been going on for years, yet few students bother to apply or even inquire about scholarship information.

“It is a free application, it is online, we try to make it as simple as possible and it is money to pay for your expenses, so there is really no excuse for not applying,” Hutton said.

Students who are unemployed, but wish to continue their education, have the opportunity to join a student work study program for jobs on and off campus.

Hutton acknowledges recent concerns over the possible reduction in Federal Work Study program.

“There won’t be a reduction in Riverside City College for the Federal Work Study Grant. For 2011-2012 we are stable in our funding,” she said.

With rising tuition fees and budget cuts, students willing to ask about financial aid can receive assistance and information from multiple sources.

“Financial aid has so many different aspects; it’s not just a check,” Hutton said.  “We have the scholarship program; we have the student work study program for on and off campus jobs, there’s the waiver. There is so much available if you stay connected to your college and [financial aid] offices.

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