Feature

FAFSA application opens, students encouraged to apply

Oct. 1 marked the opening of the 2020-2021 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Kirkwood Community College Internal Scholarships. “I recommend students do it as soon as possible. Some of the aid is based on when that Financial Aid application gets submitted,” said Financial Aid Director Matt Falduto.

The OneStop’s office helps students with filing their FAFSA and any questions that may arise during the process. “There’s some aid based on need.The federal government has a very specific definition of need. Some students who have high need will get that Pell Grant. Everybody is eligible for at least the loans,” said Falduto.

The two main types of loans are subsidized and unsubsidized. Subsidized means no interest while students are in school while unsubsidized is the opposite. Parent plus loans are loans that parents of dependent students take out on the student’s behalf. This year marks the debut of a new scholarship from the state. The Last Dollar scholarship is for programs with high need, like STEM fields. 

The Last Dollar Scholarship will cover the tuition left after other grants are applied. Scholarship and Alumni Officer Jody Donaldson echoed Falduto’s statement about submitting their applications to the Kirk- wood Foundation. “I just encourage students to apply,” she said. The Kirkwood Foundation is a nonprofit 501C3 entity of the college. Its mission is simply to raise scholarship money. The scholarship amount hit $3.2 million this year.

“Fortunately, it’s gone up almost every year, as the money goes up every year, so do the number of applications,” said Donaldson.

The Foundation received 3,400 applications the first day. The scholarship awards average $2,000. A scholarship is created by a donor awarding money based on criteria such as being a Kirkwood student, program of study and financial need.

The first round of deadlines is March 15. Most awards are given out in the first round; how- ever, the deadline is extended to July 15. The FAFSA deadline is June 30, 2021.

“If we can support you, so you can focus on your studies, not have to worry about working and going to school at the same time, you’re going to be successful here at Kirkwood. If you go on, awe- some, hopefully you go with a lot less debt,” said Donaldson.

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