College Corner: Friday, January 30, 2009

To help pave the way for more students to enter college, Mohave Community College will join with the state of Arizona in holding College Goal Sunday. The 13th Annual College Goal Sunday will be from 2 to 4 p.m. on Feb. 8 in Building 107 on the Neal Campus in Kingman. The Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education sponsors the free information session for college-bound high school seniors and their parents as well as returning adult students to gain advice from college financial aid advisors. Information is available on filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. Advisors will also be on hand to assist the student or their parents with filling out the FAFSA form. The students and their parents should bring 2008 income tax returns or W-2 forms and other tax information. Students who attend will have an opportunity to win prizes such as scholarships and laptop computers. Refreshments will be served. For more information, interested persons can call the College Goal Sunday hotline in Phoenix at (602) 258-2435, ext. 117, or visit www.collegegoalsunday.com.

With the turn of the calendar comes the need for students to start the application process for financial aid. High school seniors, potential students who plan to enter Mohave Community College in the fall and adults looking to begin or return for postsecondary classes, should file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid as soon as one's income tax returns are complete, said Director of Financial Aid Bill Osborn. Individuals shouldn't wait until they are filed, he said. "Besides getting an early jump on paperwork, it is important this year to apply early because some funds - such as federal work study funds - are limited and go to students on a first-come, first-served basis," Osborn said. Using this year's data, work study funds were awarded to students who had applied before Feb. 15, 2008, he said. "This is not a deadline, but with the availability of federal funds an unknown this year, the cliché 'the early bird gets the worm' may be appropriate," Osborn said. Financial aid is most commonly based on household income, the number of persons in a home and household assets. "We have workers on all campuses prepared to help potential students do the required FAFSA paperwork, and we have computers equipped with the form in each of the financial aid offices," said Chuck Spotts, vice chancellor of instruction and student service. "Filing paperwork early means finding out sooner how much aid is available and makes the entire class registration process go much smoother." Financial aid offices on the MCC campuses are currently open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays through May 16. Summer hours begin May 19, when office hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The campuses are closed on Fridays during the summer. The MCC Financial Aid Office administers all scholarships, some of which may be based on educational interests, professional ties or other specialized categories. All students are invited to apply. Loans are available for all education-related expenses, and that may include rent, food and transportation in addition to tuition and fees. Subsidized and unsubsidized loans are available through MCC via private lenders, and those loans are guaranteed by the federal government, Osborn said. Aid for the summer semester at MCC depends on the 2008-09 FAFSA and 2007 tax returns, Osborn said. This summer, rules will change and students may be eligible to receive more than two semesters of full-time Pell Grant funds in a single year, he said. Pell grants are financial aid that does not need to be repaid. The eligibility is determined through the FAFSA and is based on household need. For students starting a program of study in the summer, two FAFSA forms will be required, the 2008-09 form utilizing 2007 tax returns for summer and the 2009-10 form and the 2008 tax return for fall. Both applications are now available online at: www.fafsa.ed.gov. For more information or to apply for aid, call the financial aid office at the Kingman campus at (928) 757-0855.