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Advice to the Independent Financial Aid Student: FAFSA, BOG Fee, EOP&S

Some of us aren’t lucky to have parents financially secure enough to pay for our education. Others aren’t lucky enough to be completely destitute to the point where we can have a good portion of our entire education subsidized by the government. Some are in the middle; making just enough to scrape by, but making too much by government standards to qualify for financial assistance. I happened to be a generationally destitute mafucka when I first enrolled in college.

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Even when you’re a new student, always keep the S.A.P. in mind. When you’re a single and independent student who’s economically challenged, applying for financial aid via  FAFSA is a cinch. All the “how much do you make” questions are “zero.” It’s fairly straight forward for those who need to include their spouse’s income as well. Create a CCC record; if you had one in 1997, it’ll be the same one (allow a few weeks for the CCC + financial aid information to process and to receive your SAR).

Be sure to select your terms and your educational goal. I suggest always choosing “obtain an associate’s degree and transfer/transfer to a 4-year institute without an associate’s.” If you’re on financial aid anything you list as “undeclared/undecided” gives them reason to withhold your money. Better to be safe than sorry and choose one of the aforementioned.

Find your college + choose your major. Again, you’re on financial aid and if you haven’t chosen a major, you might not get your moola. In the beginning, choosing  the major of your dreams isn’t entirely crucial. You need to get through your 60 transferable unit courses first, that’s most important. Go ahead, choose Sociology during your first semester. Or, what’s even smarter is if you choose a major that’s approved for the AA-T + AS-T. A major can always be changed if you decide to take lower level classes at a community college – which is advisable as they’re cheaper. But, once you’ve finished your 60 unit transferable course threshold and decide to take lower level classes, the major you chose is the major you should stick with.

Listen to counselors, use common sense and good judgment. But, don’t let the counselors punk you.

After FAFSA, you should apply for a BOG Fee Waiver. The BOG waives your student enrollment fees (campus usage fees, tuition fees, campus health center fees).

If you can, apply for EOP&S. EOP gives you vouchers for books. And sometimes they’ll also give you backpacks, paper, pencils and other basic necessities. However, in the last few years there have been cases of them (which I experienced) not even accepting any new applicants because they’re so overwhelmed. Take a shot though.

After you apply for all your educational monetary assistance, be on the lookout for their emails. They’ll often require additional information, supplemental applications, trickery and proof of genitalia. This high school checklist explains things brilliantly!

– Fill out FAFSA – Apply to your school(s) via CCC (often, you can attend two campuses within the same district at the same time. But, financial aid can only be used at ONE of the campuses). – Apply for the BOG – Apply for EOP (only in person on campus)    

 

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