Each year, billions of dollars are awarded to students to help pay for their college education and related expenses. Yet, an alarming number of students assume they won’t qualify for financial aid or don’t even bother to apply.

“Apply. Apply. Apply,” said Rosezza Miller, district director, Financial Aid at Broward College. “You don’t know if you qualify unless you apply.”

Miller said every student should obtain a password to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which serves as a gateway to all federal funding, including loans, scholarships, work-study, and grants. She said it’s in a student’s best interest to do so. Studies show completing a FAFSA can boost a student's likelihood not only to attend college but graduate.

The FAFSA form is intended to provide a picture of a family's financial strength. If a dependent student is applying for federal student aid to help pay for college, the parent's financial information is required on the FAFSA form.

“One of the biggest challenges we face is when a student’s parents don’t want to be part of the process,” said Miller. “That’s because they don’t understand the financial aid process. They think they are going to have to take out a loan and are concerned about going into default.”

Providing information does not commit the parent to contribute anything toward the student's education; it is simply required to assess the family's situation.

"In all actuality, we pride ourselves here at Broward College on having our students not need to take out loans," said Miller. "It's very rare that our students have to take out a loan."

Reducing financial barriers to post-secondary education is a priority at Broward College, which was ranked the most affordable college in Florida this year by University HQ from among more than 100 higher education institutions in the state.

Plenty of Scholarships

Miller said a big difference in financial aid compared to years past is the number of scholarships available. A scholarship is a financial aid award that, like grants, does not have to be repaid. Broward College offers scholarships based on merit, financial need, and degree choice, among other criteria. The financial aid team can guide students through the application process for external scholarships as well. A scholarship application can be obtained at https://www.broward.edu/admissions/financial-aid/scholarships/index.html

Students must complete a FAFSA form between now and June 30, 2022, to be considered for federal student aid for the 2021–2022 award year. To complete a FAFSA, Miller said students would need their Social Security or Alien Registration numbers, federal income tax returns, W-2s, other records of money earned, and bank statements. To obtain a FAFSA, visit: https://bit.ly/2TboXOJ

On the Broward College Financial Aid web page, students can also find information about qualifications, fix red flags in the application process, register for classes, confirm awards, purchase books, and payment options.

“Opportunities for financial aid are there,” said Miller. “And we’re always looking for innovative ways of getting that information out to our students. So, apply!”

Students with questions about financial aid can find the help they need to ensure a seamless and pleasant process. Contact us at 954-201-2330 or visit: https://bit.ly/2TboXOJ
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