Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in financial aid
Posted by on in News
Changes to Federal Aid Brings Benefits to Students

MARIETTA, Ohio (July 12, 2016)—Last year President Obama announced significant changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that will impact students beginning this fall. Washington State Community College (WSCC) Director of Financial Aid Shannon Venezia was recently on Capitol Hill giving accolades to Congress for strides made and advocating for continued improved reform of the federal aid program.

The initial changes will unfurl this fall when the filing date of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be moved from January 1 to October 1. The FAFSA is a required form submitted to the government in order to receive financial aid from federal programs, many state programs and even institutional aid programs, which can help pay for higher education opportunities.

The government has also changed the tax year for which the FAFSA is based.  Applications will now utilize income information from two years prior. For example, on the 2017–18 FAFSA, an applicant will report their 2015 income information.  

Venezia cited the value of these changes is three-fold. First, they eliminate the delay of waiting for tax forms. Secondly, it should make the FAFSA application process easier because applicants, in many circumstances, will be able to use IRS data retrieval. Lastly, it will give families more time to look at the cost of college and make informed decisions about what school the student should attend based on aid eligibility.

Ultimately these changes are meant to encourage students to file the FAFSA because colleges and the government use it to allot need-based and some merit-based financial aid.  Venezia advised families not to assume they aren’t qualified to receive aid. According to a recent Sallie Mae survey, last year a quarter of households whose earnings were more than $100,000 received an average $9,000+ in grants.

Recently, on a visit to Washington as a member of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, Venezia met with congressional staffers from offices of Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Representative Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Delegate Eleanor Homes Norton (D-DC) and spoke on the behalf of community colleges when she offered praises for their efforts at improving aid opportunities, and encouragement for further reform.

She identified the reinstatement of year-round Pell grant, which is money awarded to students based on need and does not have to be repaid, as a step in the right direction, but she also encouraged them to legislate change for the earlier release of eligibility breakdowns of Pell funds.

Currently, Venezia communicates to a student what she anticipates their award to total near the end of the year, however, because the government doesn’t release exact figures until the end of January, the awarded amount can fluctuate by as much as $200. “That’s a book for some of our students, and could be what keeps them out of school,” she acknowledged.

Improvements to the Pell Grant in particular, are especially valuable to community colleges, specifically WSCC which is the smallest community college in Ohio, where 70% of its population is eligible for federal aid dollars. “For a community college, this is our lifeblood,” explained Venezia.

While her trip to DC was primarily to give praise to Congress for the financial aid improvements they’ve made and encouragement for continued work, she was elated to learn of an exciting opportunity in the pipeline. Senator Brown's office disclosed to Venezia that he plans to introduce a bill to eliminate origination fees on students loans, which are fees charged by lenders to cover the cost of processing a loan.

 “For our students who can borrow the maximum of $10,500, that’s $112 a year being paid to the Department of Education,” Venezia confirmed.  As the bill is in its infancy and still needs support for other members of congress, “this is another positive move to improve the affordability of higher education.”

For anyone interested in enrolling at WSCC, classes are scheduled to begin August 15. FAFSA priority processing for fall term has passed, however, students can still apply for aid. For more information, contact Venezia at 740.568.1908 orThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank" style="color: #1155cc; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px;">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For 44 years, Washington State Community College has provided residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley the opportunity to realize dreams, to enhance skills, and to broaden understanding. Whether you are a recent high school graduate or an adult student looking to move your life in a new direction, Washington State has the classes to suit your needs. For more information about Washington State Community College, visit www.wscc.edu or call 740.374.8716.

Hits: 133
Posted by on in News
WSCC takes the fear out of going to college

MARIETTA, Ohio (June 24, 2016)— As the Director of Admissions at Washington State Community College (WSCC), Carrie Thrash has probably heard every possible excuse as to why someone can’t commit to enrolling in college—some are legitimate reasons, others are not. Many of the reasons have a common denominator—fear.

“Fear can be a great motivator and it can be a big barrier for folks,” acknowledged Thrash. She confirmed it isn’t just the fear of the unknown, but also perceived fear. Jeannette Jaraucaro graduated from WSCC in May and in the speech she delivered to her graduating class she freely admitted that she was overwhelmed at the thought of returning to school. She worried about finances, schedules, classes, and, after being out of school for more than a decade she was concerned, “What if I’m the oldest person in the class?”

Jaraucaro said these concerns were “part of an inner monologue for nearly 15 years,” until she finally conquered her fear and enrolled in college. “The confidence I felt making that decision remains today,” she told her fellow graduates. “I was creating room for new opportunities in my life, both professionally and personally.”

Thrash confirmed Jaraucaro isn't unique in her concerns. “Many people just aren’t sure how to make it all work out because they’re balancing many things.” However, confronting the anxiety is a step toward success, she assured . "Sometimes you just have to face your fears, but remember, it's okay to take lots of little steps to get to your destination."

She went onto explain that its common for adult students to begin to consider college following a major life event—such as divorce, job displacement, children starting school or empty nest. WSCC has a process in place to guide those who are at this fork in the road. First, talk with an admissions professional.  “Our job is to help them see what all of their options are and then help them decide if their expectations are realistic,” Thrash said.

And after that conversation, if the admissions department has piqued your interest, WSCC has information sessions scheduled throughout the summer. This is an opportunity to visit campus, get an overview of college and the programs WSCC offers, as well as learn the steps involved with the enrollment process. “They just need to call 740.568.1900 and to let us know they are coming,” noted Thrash.

She also encourages people to talk to financial aid during the visit. The cost of an education is often the factor that brings a person’s plans to a halt. Shannon Venezia, Director of Financial Aid and Government Relations, stated that 75% of all students at WSCC are eligible for some type of financial aid, whether it be federal, institutional or foundation dollars-- 70% of which receive the Pell Grant, need-based federal grants provided to low-income students to promote access to college.

Venezia noted that eligibility for most financial aid is based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA). This is a required form to apply for all federal aid programs, many state programs and even institutional aid programs. She explained that the financial aid department can provide assistance and insight on the FAFSA application process.  “We serve as a resource to provide financial advisement and guidance during the application process to ensure students have access to all the assistance available.”

WSCC has done its best to remove the stress and pressure about deciding to enroll in college. Thrash explained that a person can talk to admissions, come to an information session, and even submit an application yet still not be obligated to enroll in classes. “We just want our students to be able to make an informed decision before they commit because school isn’t easy. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication."  Making college accessible isn’t the ultimate goal at WSCC, Thrash assures. “The capstone for us [WSCC] is student success. We truly want to see our students graduate and leave here as leaders who feel confident in what they’ve learned.”

For students who want to ease into the college experience, Washington State also offers a free 10-week intense brush-up course that focuses primarily on strengthening math skills. It is designed to give students the solid foundation necessary to be successful in college.  The course, called ACES, also provides an overview on study skills and time management skills that are essential for success.

More information about the enrollment process including financial aid and admissions are available online at wscc.edu or by calling 740.568.1900.

For 44 years, Washington State Community College has provided residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley the opportunity to realize dreams, to enhance skills, and to broaden understanding. Whether you are a recent high school graduate or an adult student looking to move your life in a new direction, Washington State has the classes to suit your needs. For more information about Washington State Community College, visit www.wscc.edu or call 740.374.8716.

Hits: 157

Posted by on in News
WSCC to host College Goal Sunday

MARIETTA, Ohio (February 4, 2016) – Washington State Community College (WSCC) will host the statewide college financial aid event "College Goal Sunday" (CGS) on February 14, 2016 at 2 p.m. in the CB&T Building on campus. This free event, presented by the Ohio Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (OASFAA) and endorsed by the Ohio Department of Higher Education, assists students and parents with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

...

20140724shannonamandaMARIETTA, Ohio (July 22, 2014) – Washington State Community College's (WSCC) Director of Financial Aid, Shannon Venezia, published a blog post in The Chronicle for Higher Learning online journal and along with Amanda Herb, Vice President of Enrollment and Student Success, presented "The Challenge of Rural Students: Best Practices" at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators' annual meeting. Approximately 2500 financial aid administrators from around the country gathered for the meeting in Nashville, TN. Shannon and Amanda's presentation was an exploration of two components. It involved some background on rural students: patterns most commonly found in rural students (one of the least likely groups to complete the FAFSA, less likely to be college ready, typically make less money in similar jobs when compared to their suburban counterparts), and some best practices. Many of the meeting attendees were practitioners, so Shannon and Amanda offered ideas and opened the session for discussion. Shannon has found that research supports that "work study is an important part of persistence...it offers students a connection to the institution and a reason to be on campus."

...

campus

email-icon-blue CONTACT US

  • Washington State Community College
  • 710 Colegate Drive
  • Marietta, Ohio 45750 USA
  • 740.374-8716
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.