Financial Aid Awareness Month helps students navigate FASFA

Kaitlin Sansenbach

At Sacramento State’s Financial Aid office, there are many resources students can use in order to step over the barriers of the unknown. 

Financial aid consists of grants, scholarships, federal work-study programs and student loans. All of these aids have one thing in common: they start with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

In order to help students de-stress, the Financial Aid office has set up Financial Aid Awareness Month for February.

Awareness month is to educate people about financial aid involved in the Sac State community, and to encourage everyone to apply.

The communication representative from the financial aid office, Jasmine Murphy, stands behind the purpose of Financial Aid Awareness Month.

“We are just trying to get the word out to our continuing students, as well as our prospective students, and really anyone in the community, that now is the time to apply for financial aid. It’s out there. It’s available,” Murphy said. “Nearly everyone qualifies for at least one type of aid program. It’s all about getting that application sent in and meeting that priority deadline with the FAFSA.”

Another benefit of this month is the alumni contact. The financial aid office has sent emails, radio announcements and flyers to inform alumni about the financial aid process.

Claudette Bailey, Sac State alumna, did not know she could qualify for financial aid until this month. She was forwarded an email from the school describing the different ways she can continue her education with the help of financial aid.

“If it wasn’t for the Financial Aid office contacting me this month, I would have never known that there were ways to help me pay for further education,” Bailey said.

The Financial Aid office will be hosting workshops to take students through a step-by-step process in order to complete the FAFSA. Its main focus is to get all the applications completed by March 2.

Murphy said if the government application is completed by the due date, the Financial Aid office guarantees the students will have the correct number of units reported to the state, and the distribution of money will be properly disbursed in a timely manner.

Murphy also said the Financial Aid office had a system where if the student changed their units, it would take three weeks for students to get their monetary disbursements. Students were forced to wait until the very last minute for money and some worried about being dropped from their classes.

Sac State student Jennifer Moore ran into troubles with the previous financial aid office.

“It wasn’t the best,” Moore said. “If it’s money I’m going to get, I need to know when I’m going to get it, how I’m going to get it and where it’s coming from.”

Moore said the Financial Aid office has gotten better and her money came within a timely manner this semester.

In addition to getting students their money quicker, deferment dates were also pushed back this semester for all students who are a part of the financial aid system.

The new improvements the Financial Aid office has made in the last year will make for a promising future for the students at Sac State.