Cameron University’s Office of Financial Assistance recommends that students complete the 2018-19 FAFSA® now. The financial aid filing season officially began on Sunday, October 1, with the launch of the 2018‒19 FAFSA® at www.fafsa.gov. Nearly 238,000 online applications were submitted the first day, representing an eight percent increase compared to one year ago.
“At Cameron University, we understand the financial concerns that most families have regarding the effort and resources needed to pay for a college education,” says Gary Garoffolo, Director of Financial Assistance. “The majority of Cameron students receive a financial aid package consisting of scholarships, grants, loans and/or employment opportunities.”
Garoffolo emphasizes that early applicants for FAFSA® typically have access to more types of funding than later applicants.
“For example, Oklahoma residents are eligible to apply for the Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant Program (OTAG) simply by completing the FAFSA®,” he says. “Because of budget reductions at the state level, only eligible students who were in the federal processing system by December 1, 2016, received OTAG consideration. We anticipate a similar cut-off date this year as well.”
He also recommends that all students complete and file a FAFSA®.
“Even when a student’s family believes their income may not qualify for any federal or state grant assistance, there is always the possibility that the student may need to borrow from the Federal Direct Student Loan Programs to pay the direct costs of attending Cameron,” Garoffolo explains. “Without a FAFSA® record on file we cannot determine federal eligibility in any of the Federal Student Aid Programs.”
Most students and parents are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), which allows them to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the FAFSA® and transfer the data directly into their FAFSA® from the IRS website. The DRT is the most efficient way to provide tax data and ensures that the FAFSA® contains accurate tax information. There is no need to provide a copy of tax returns when utilizing the DRT, which has privacy protections to safeguard sensitive data.
In order to submit the FAFSA®, students are required to have an FSA ID, which can be created at www.fafsa.gov. If a student is considered dependent for FAFSA® purposes, one of the student’s parents also needs to create an FSA ID in order to sign the FAFSA® online. Each person must create his or her own FSA ID to avoid issues and delays with the financial aid process.
“It is critical that every Cameron student has a FAFSA® on file,” says Garoffolo. “That is the first step in putting together a financial aid package. Even as affordable as Cameron University is in comparison to our peer institutions in the region, the cost of obtaining a college degree can be a barrier for too many students. Our efforts to remove that barrier start with the FAFSA®.”
For more information on FAFSA® , financial assistance eligibility and more, contact the Office of Financial Assistance at 580-581-2293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 6, 2017