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Photo by: Angelle Gaspard

Prospect students learn about available options to make college affordable

February 20, 2017

High school students came to Nicholls for Financial Aid Night on Feb. 15 to find out how the school and state can help them with the cost of their college education.

Financial Aid Night is geared toward prospect students and their families to teach them about FAFSA, TOPS and other financial aid opportunities. The goal is to make college more affordable for students not only in the Bayou Region, but beyond.
Financial Aid helps with anything from expenses such as tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies and transportation.

Many of the students in attendance have already been admitted to Nicholls and confirmed for orientation. There was a live-stream of the presentation for those who were unable to make the trip to Thibodaux.

The presentation started with an explanation of FAFSA, which is the only way for students to apply for federal student aid. An Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is computed which determines what aid you may be qualified to receive.

With recent changes to FAFSA, students were able to file a 2017–18 application since Oct. 1, 2016, rather than beginning on Jan. 1, 2017. The earlier submission date is a permanent change, which enables students to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as Oct. 1 every year.

The application can be found at www.fafsa.gov

Next, grants, scholarships and loans were discussed. A grant is based on financial need, while a scholarship is based off of merit, skill or unique characteristics. A loan is money borrowed to help pay college expenses and are repaid with interest. There are two types of stafford loans a student can be eligible for: subsidized, which is based on financial need, and unsubsidized, which is not based on financial need.

Students can keep up with their financial aid status through their banner self service account found on the Nicholls website.

Student Employment is another way that students can make money while working on-campus. The student’s FAFSA must be completed in order for them to be eligible for a job on-campus. The pay is federal minimum wage and on an hourly basis.

Lastly, TOPS eligibility requirements were discussed. TOPS is a program of state scholarships given to Louisiana residents. There are different award levels based on GPA and ACT scores. Students must also maintain the requirements throughout college to keep the award money.

A question and answer session was held at the end to clarify any more concerns the parents and students.

For more information, go to www.nicholls.edu/financial-aid.

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