Tips on what not to do when applying for Financial Aid
(El Paso) KTSM — It's that time of the year again, when students wanting financial help will have to hurry and apply before time and money run out.
We all know how expensive higher education can be, and going through the daunting task of applying for financial help.
"I pay full price out of pocket, so it comes out to around 5 thousand including books," said UTEP student Santiago Garcia.
It's a financial reality for many college students Garcia.
"I applied my first year in UTEP and I got loans, but I don't really want to get loans because they end up haunting you in the end, so I haven't applied since," said Garcia.
For those who do qualify for financial aid, one student warns about the temptations that come from seemingly free money.
"When I first got my first refund, it was a lot of money and I didn't know what to do with it,” said UTEP student Alex Amaya. “I started spending it in the dumbest ways. I want to advice other students to be wise with what you do with your money. Don't go around thinking just because you have a good refund you could just stop counting dollars and start counting stars."
According to one UTEP official, if you don't qualify for financial aid there are other options.
“UTEP in particular we have thousands of on campus jobs that our students fill every day so that's a nice way to earn a little bit of money while you are also pursing your education," said Gary Edens, Vice President for Student Affairs.
If you prefer to take out a loan, Amaya said it’s easy to lose track of what you borrow, and that could mean big troubles down the road.
"They are easy to get, I think that’s the hardest part of it that you can easily get them and so you lose track of them,” he said. “I have seen students who take out so many loans, by their fourth year they don't know how much debt they are in."
Edens said it’s easy to get financial help the only trick is making sure you know where the money is coming from.
"You don't want to respond to the spam that is out there or these often times not legitimate providers that are trying to entice students to sign up for loans or financial aid," said Edens.
The workshops for students submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid this spring semester are listed below. All sessions are from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in school computer labs and Libraries.
February 18: Riverside High, Del Valle High and Maxine Silva Magnet
February 19: Franklin High, Parkland High, and Burges High
February 20: Jefferson High, Irvin High, and El Paso High
February 24: Eastwood High, Anthony High, and Father Yermo
February 25: Clint High, Coronado High, Bel Air High, and Chaparral High
February 26: Gadsden High, Eastlake High, Socorro High and Mission Early College
February 27: Paso Del Norte-East, Bowie High, and Mountain View High
March 4: Paso Del Norte-West, Harmony Science Academy
If you are going to attend these sessions, you must request a pin before attending at www.pin.ed.gov
One of the parents of the student applying for financial aid must also request a pin.
Other information you will need at these workshops are your social security cards, your driver’s license if you have one, your 2013 W2 forms and other records of money earned, your parents 2013 federal income tax return if you are a dependent student, your 2013 untaxed income records, your current bank statements, and if your are not a citizen you must need your alien registration or permanent resident card.