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College Financial Aid Guide


By Ruby Churchill

Financial aid plays a crucial role in your college journey.

College is a thrilling period of self-discovery. It also involves navigating the complex world of student finances. Fortunately, higher education offers an exhilarating adventure in the form of financial aid. Like a treasure hunter, you will embark on a quest to uncover elusive grants and scholarships while staying vigilant to avoid potential scams.

The first step in this journey is to engage in a patience-building exercise called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In addition to providing financial information, you must submit essential documents like tax returns. There are online resources within the application to guide you through the process.

According to savingforcollege.com, there are new changes coming to the FAFSA for the 2024-2025 school year. The form will have less questions. The date the application opens is also delayed.

“The 2024-2025 FAFSA will become available in December 2023 instead of on October 1, 2023. The FAFSA is expected to return to an October 1 start date with the 2025-2026 FAFSA.”

The FAFSA can seem like a large task to complete. However, Senior Michael Bray regards filling it out as a worthy undertaking.

“The FAFSA process is done in a manner that makes it simplistic for almost any individual that wants to do that process. And it also works in the favor of individuals in any background or situation to give them the best access to as many benefits as possible,” Bray said.

With the FAFSA successfully completed, it is time to embark on the legendary quest for scholarships and grants. Financial aid can be found for everyone from left-handed, red-haired, accordion players to those who have a passion for collecting gum wrappers.

SU has several scholarships and grants available for students. Upon completing the FAFSA, you become eligible for grants like the Pell Grant.

State Grants include the Cal Grant, which requires maintaining a minimum GPA. Another is the Chaffee Grant for individuals who have been in foster care. You can find information on these grants at the California Student Aid Commission website.

Additionally, various private scholarships await. For instance, nitrocollege.com offers a variety of drawings that are simple to enter. Simpson University also has institutional scholarships like the NorCal Promise, Mosaic, Legacy Alliance Scholarship, as well as ones for sports or music.

If none of these apply to you, fear not, for the treasure hunt is far from over.

These grants are just a fraction of the vast resources available. For more information on financial aid, consider visiting Simpson University’s financial aid website. You can explore other scholarship opportunities at scholarships.com or fastweb.com.

After you have hunted down scholarships, consider student loans—cautiously. While they promise knowledge and opportunity, they can lead to a lifetime of debt that rivals a Shakespearean tragedy. Ensure that you understand them clearly before taking them on.

Another option for financial aid in college is the work-study program. Some fortunate individuals are able to have a part-time job, with earnings going toward tuition expenses.

Remember, the financial aid office is available to help. Freshman Nathan Palacioz shared that the financial aid advisors provided necessary support.

“They helped when we called, they helped us get through whatever it was that we needed help on. Everybody here is super friendly, super nice. They help you get through whatever your situation is,” Palacioz said.

The world of college financial aid is much like a treasure hunt. It may require research, but it can be well worth the effort. Thus, don your adventurer's cap, sharpen your wit, and embrace the challenge. May the FAFSA forms be ever in your favor.

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