College aid options are available

Published 12:00 pm Monday, March 21, 2016

While the FASFA deadline isn’t until the end of June nationwide, there is another deadline coming up at the end of the month for Mississippians related to getting aid for college expenses.

March 31 is the deadline to apply for the Mississippi HELP grant, which provides full tuition to qualified students for up to five years. There are three Get2College Centers, which is a nonprofit, that help families fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) at no charge with a focus on the HELP grant.

There are income requirements to receive a HELP grant as well as a checklist of items that must be submitted. The students must also have certain education requirements under their belt.

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The U. S. Department of Education uses the information provided on the FAFSA to assist the college or university aid office to determine each student’s eligibility for federal programs such as Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, work study and student loans.  Many states and colleges also use the FAFSA to award aid from their own grant and scholarship programs.

Everyone thinking about going to college in the fall should look at the HELP grant and fill out the FASFA, because every resource counts when dollars count, and using the FASFA, a school may be able to get creative and find a way financially to ensure a bright student can get a degree, regardless of demographics and economic hindrances.