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Archive for the ‘financial aid’ Category

Five FAFSA Nights, held at various Pinellas County high schools in February and March, drew more than 500 attendees looking for help completing financial aid applications.

The federal financial aid outreach initiative, sponsored by St. Petersburg College, was aimed at helping Pinellas County students and families complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for 2013-14.

More than 200 SPC faculty, staff and student volunteers traveled to Boca Ciega, St. Petersburg Collegiate, Dunedin, Lakewood and Largo high schools to offer assistance. Students received one-on-one help and could expect to receive their FAFSA results in just one week. Completing the applications as soon as possible also allowed students a better chance at receiving financial aid. FAFSA also is a requirement for students who want to use Bright Futures money.

Results for attendees at the different FAFSA Nights were:

  • Boca Ciega High School – Feb. 6 – 123
  • St. Petersburg Collegiate High School – Feb. 12 – 64
  • Dunedin High School – Feb. 19 – 194
  • Lakewood High School – Feb. 26 – 67
  • Largo High School – March 12 – 84

Photos from the different FAFSA Nights are on the college’s Facebook page.

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About 47 SPC faculty, staff and student volunteers helped more than 194 family members and students at the FAFSA Night at Dunedin High School on Feb. 19.

The federal financial aid outreach initiative helps Pinellas County students and families complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for 2013-14.

Upcoming FAFSA Nights

From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

  • Feb. 26 – Lakewood High School
  • March 12 – Largo High School

The event was the second in a series of four FAFSA Nights offered in the county. The next FAFSA Nights will be held at Lakewood High School on Feb. 26 and Largo High School on March 12.

More photos from FAFSA Night at Dunedin High School are on SPC’s Facebook page.

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There still are three upcoming FAFSA Nights events over the next several weeks, TBNweekly.com reported. SPC is hosting the event to help students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as fast and accurately as possible. Those who participate can expect to get their FAFSA results in one week.

Locations and dates for the remaining events are:

  • Feb. 19 – Dunedin High School
  • Feb. 26 – Lakewood High School
  • March 12 – Largo High School

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Volunteers work with students and their families at SPC’s FAFSA Nights.

St. Petersburg College will be holding more FAFSA Nights in the next several weeks.

The federal financial aid outreach initiative helps Pinellas County students and families complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for 2013-14.

About 36 SPC faculty and staff volunteered their time for FAFSA Nights at Boca Ciega High School on Feb. 5. The event was the first in a series of four FAFSA Nights offered in the county. The next FAFSA Nights will be held at Dunedin High School on Feb. 19.

Every year, current and prospective college students who want to qualify for aid from schools, state and federal government have to fill out a FAFSA. Forms need to be submitted by June 30 to be considered for federal aid, but every college and scholarship program has a different due date, said Todd Smith, SPC director of financial assistance and services, in an article on TBO.com. “Students will learn how much aid they qualify for within a week, but the application process can be frustrating. That’s why St. Petersburg College wants to offer help,” the article stated.

Upcoming FAFSA Nights

From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

  • Feb. 12 – St. Petersburg Collegiate High School
  • Feb. 19 – Dunedin High School
  • Feb. 26 – Lakewood High School
  • March 12 – Largo High School

“Would you rather do your taxes at home or sit down with an H&R Block agent for free and get it done the right way?” Smith said in the news report. “It’s always good to have someone there with you. If you’re sitting at the computer by yourself, it’s easy to feel lost.”

ABC Action News aired a news report about SPC’s FAFSA Nights. News about the event also has been reported in I4U News and the Tampa Bay Times.

See more photos from the FAFSA Nights at Boca Ciega High School on the college’s Facebook page.

 

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When every dollar counts, getting the most out of your financial aid is a priority. The sooner students can complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the better chance they have at getting a slice of the financial aid pie. In addition, continuing this year, the FAFSA is a requirement for students who want to use Bright Futures money.

Sponsored by SPC, FAFSA Nights is an event aimed at helping parents and students complete the FAFSA quickly and accurately so they can qualify for the most financial aid possible. Those who participate can expect to get their FAFSA results in just one week.

No matter what college they plan to attend, students and parents can get one-on-one help completing their FAFSA on the following Tuesday nights from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at one of the Pinellas County high school locations:

· Feb. 5 – Boca Ciega High School (map)
· Feb. 19 – Dunedin High School (map)
· Feb. 26 – Lakewood High School (map)
· March 12 – Largo High School (map)

Visit www.spcollege.edu/fafsanights for a checklist of documents to bring to ensure successful completion. For more information, call 727-302-6802.

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With student loan debt expected to top $867 billion this year in the United States, St. Petersburg College has launched a partnership with American Student Assistance to provide a free online financial literacy and loan management education program. The service helps students manage their money, plan repayment of their student loans and develop long-term financial skills. The membership program and website, dubbed SALT, is easy, confidential and tailored specifically to each student.

By creating an account on the website, students can:

  • Keep track of their student loans
  • Get loan advice from an expert counselor
  • Look for a job or internship
  • Search for scholarships
  • Learn how to budget and manage money wisely
  • Find out why credit and credit reports are so important

“Student loan debt is at an all-time high, actually exceeding credit card debt,” said Michael Bennett, Associate Vice President, Financial Assistance Services. “SALT provides a service for students to be able to successfully plan to repay their student loans and manage their money. Students input their loan information, see the amount they owe and plan their budget. By using SALT, they also have access to live, knowledgeable counselors who can walk them through the complex world of repayment.”

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U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor addressed the possible rise in student loan interest rates at the SPC Midtown Center Monday. On July 1, the interest rate on Stafford student loans is scheduled to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, affecting a half million students throughout Florida who will have to pay more to attend college, Castor said.

“That is just completely untenable at this day and age,” she said. “We need to make a college education more and affordable and not less affordable.”

From left: Melissa Depasquale, 25, a finance and political science major at the University of South Florida; U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor; Mark Lombardi Nelson, 19, an entrepreneurship and finance major and President of the Student Government Association at USF St. Petersburg; Danita Randolph, 18, a nursing major and Secretary of the Student Government Association at SPC Downtown/Midtown; and John Pecora, President of the SGA at SPC Downtown/SPC Midtown.

Castor told the group at Midtown that she is co-sponsoring a bill she is hopeful will make a difference in the lives of many students whose college educations are made possible with student loans. Students like John Pecora and Mark Nelson, who are SPC sophomores, have growing concerns about what the increase will mean for their futures.

“When I committed to this education, it was going to give me a new career path,” said Pecora, an SPC student  majoring in Education. “I understood that the loan rate was 3.4 and now I find out that two years into it,  it could double.”

The thought of a hike in student loans during a time where employment is down and many families are just making ends meet is horrendous, Castor said. University of South Florida St. Petersburg Student Government President Mark Nelson is a first generation college student. Coming from a large family — his mother never finished high school and his father also dropped out but later obtained a GED  – Nelson views completing his education as an obligation, not just to himself, but to his family.

“Going to college is basically putting the family on my back, really saving them, being able to put us in the future to make sure that we can sustain ourselves,” said Nelson, who attends USF on a scholarship, but has also needed to take out student loans to continue his eduation.

As both a student and a representative for his peers, Nelson finds it important that loan rates remain unchanged.

“The 3.4 percent is low enough to where it’s fair, if it’s doubled, people will be hurt including me,” Nelson said. “They can’t do it, we can’t pay, we really can’t.”

Because of the severe impact the student loan interest rate increase will have on students and families, Castor is doing what she can to maintain the status quo.

“Unless the Congress acts, then they (students) are going to be subject to at least a $1,000 increase in the cost of attending college,” Castor said.

The pressing issue of student loan debt, which tops $867 billion, has been a hot topic in the news, including National Public Radio, the Baltimore Sun and the Seattle Times.

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Adrian Ortega

After returning from a recent performance at Carnegie Hall, one of the world’s most prestigious concert venues, SPC Madrigalian Adrian Ortega was elated. The honors college student, who studies music in the college’s Classical Music program, is so elated he describes the experience as transcended. It’s an experience most only dream about.

An avid music lover, the freshman  knows he was born to work in music and is certain of his life aspirations. But that was not always the case for the Charlotte Anthony Music Scholarship recipient. Just a year ago, he had no clue what college he wanted to attend, even with a high GPA. This year, however, he said he made the best choice of his life in his decision to attend SPC.

“It’s put my dreams in focus,” Ortega, 19, said. “It’s made me realize I was born to do music. The lines are a lot clearer now. I know where in music I want to be and where I potentially want to go.”

For Ortega, things continue to get clearer and each accomplishment brings confirmation. On Friday, March 23, Ortega shared his aspirations with fellow scholarship recipients and donors during the Foundation’s 13th Annual Scholarship Appreciation Luncheon. With his speech aptly titled, “Spreading the Gift of Music,” Ortega took the opportunity to thank donors who support the arts and higher education. Their generous contributions lighten the financial load and help many students reach the finish line to graduation.

“The scholarship money takes the edge off of having so many finances and having to deal with my classes in general … so this helps, it gives me a little more money to help me stay in college,” Ortega said.

The $500 gift will provide a huge relief in paying for gas.

“I live in Palm Harbor so the trek to St. Pete takes a toll on the gas money, so that is the main thing it helps,” he said. “Considering I have so many concerts, I have to drive.”

Soon to be the first in his family to earn a degree, Ortega will receive his Associate of Arts  in spring 2013, after which he intends to transfer to the FSU College of Music and dual major in Music Theory and Performance. He is meeting and exceeding this family’s expectation.

“Both my parents went to college, but never finished,” Ortega said. “I guess this is sort of fulfilling their dreams and making sure I will have a better life than they had. Parents always want their children to be better, so I think they’re expecting that with me, thanks to my education.”

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The St. Petersburg Times has reported a new requirement for Bright Futures scholarship recipients. All recipients must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form in order to receive the funds.

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Nervous about filling out your FAFSA form? (That stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

There’s good news for you. Just show up at the library on the Clearwater Campus on April 15 between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Financial Aid experts will be on hand to help you with the necessary paperwork.

Here’s what you need to bring:

1. A copy of your 2009 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ tax form.
2. If under 24 years of age, also bring a copy of your parent’s 2009 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ form.

2010-2011 FAFSA Worksheets will be provided.

See you there!

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