In the Office of Student Financial Assistance our philosophy is: enhancing excellence in learning through quality student service, one student at a time. We accomplish this through our seven learning objectives:
We believe that it is important to have these learning objectives for our students. Our goal is to ensure that our students have a good general understanding of the financial aid process and the skills needed to ensure that they complete their educational objectives. And, we would hope that if our students gain knowledge of some or all of our learning objectives, they may make the decision to transfer to a four-year institution.
The student will demonstrate an understanding of the rules and procedures necessary to apply for financial aid. For some students who attend PVCC they are unaware that the first step in filing for financial aid is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA must be filed each year. In January of each calendar year, a new FAFSA is available. Once a student completes a FAFSA they will be assessed for aid in the next academic year. Many students are unaware that we have a March 15th priority deadline. We would like our student to get familiar with this deadline because it is close to the filing deadline of the three Arizona universities. All three of the Arizona universities have university grant funds. The first step to receive these funds is to complete the FAFSA by the priority deadline. There are other topics like the renewal process, personal identification number (PIN), dependent and independent student status that are included in this learning objective.
The student will demonstrate an understanding of the importance of record keeping. It is imperative that students keep copies of all records relating to the financial aid process in order and in one place. To assist students, our office has developed a Student Financial Assistance folder. This folder outlines the five main steps for applying and retaining financial aid eligibility. It also has a calendar with important dates and helpful hints. Our students are encouraged to keep copies of the taxes, their Student Aid Report (SAR), award letters, promissory notes, any correspondence from our office, etc.
The student will demonstrate the ability to research possible outside educational funding sources. It is critical that students explore as many avenues for funding their education as possible. The federal grant programs are not increasing to meet the growing tuition needs of students. Textbooks are more expensive then ever before and we expect these costs to continue to rise. Many students are reluctant to apply for a student loans, but still have major gaps in meeting their educational expenses. Exploring outside education sources/scholarship can have a huge impact on adding to the available funding for students. Unfortunately, when scholarship opportunities become available not many students submit an application. We encourage students to visit our web site (www.pvc.maricopa.edu/finaid) monthly for new scholarship opportunities. This past year our office offered a scholarship workshop entitled the Nuts & Bolts of Applying for Scholarship. We plan to offer this workshop on our web site for next year. We also plan to continue to try and educate students on the advantages of applying for scholarships.
The student will demonstrate an understanding of educational funding as an investment in their future life goals is our fourth learning objective. The intent of this learning objective is that the student would plan their educational financing parallel to their educational goals. The student will aggressively research all forms of grants and scholarship to maximize their efforts in meeting their goals. Also, the student will utilize the Office of Student Financial Assistance to assist them in planning and mapping their resources for their higher education career. When grants and scholarships are not available, the Federal Direct Student Loan may be a student’s only available option. Students need to look at the Federal Loan Programs as an investment in their future. It is not the intent of the Office of Student Financial Assistance to push students into the Federal Loan Programs. But we will advise a student that the Federal Student Loan is an option when it is the only form of aid available to assist them in meeting their educational goals. We believe like many of you that a college education offers a student greater possibilities and choices. Students need to look at the Federal Loan Programs as an investment in their future. If a student is willing to invest in themselves, they should educate themselves about the Federal Loan Programs. Whatever they do, they should not use their credit card.
The student will develop a personal money management plan to assess their current and future financial needs is our fifth learning objective. The Office of Student Financial Assistance believes that it is our responsibility to assist student in defining their educational, career, and financial goals, and strategizing a plan for achieving those objectives. At the beginning of each semester students receive their financial aid disbursement. In some cases, students are unable to make the funds last until the end of the semester. We have assessed that the majority of students get into difficulty because they have not developed a budget. They do not have a goal or plan for their funds. Some students like many adults have difficulty determining their needs from wants. In the 2004-2005 the office will be offering a Life Skills workshop for students.
The student will demonstrate an understanding of the rules and regulations related to withdrawing from course(s). Students who are receiving a low grade in a particular course, sometimes withdraw from that class to protect their Grade Point Average (GPA). This action can reduce the amount of aid they receive or if aid was already disbursed the student may have to return some of the funds. If a student does not complete 2/3 of the classes they registered for in an academic year, they may not be eligible for financial aid funds in the next academic year. There are more scenarios that can affect a student’s aid. The rule of thumb is, before a student withdraws from a class, they should contact the Office of Student Financial Assistance.
The student will demonstrate an understanding of debt management and default consequences. Our office will ensure that each student understands their rights and responsibilities related to the Federal Direct Student Loan Program. We will ensure that a student only borrows what they need. We will ensure that they are aware of the disbursement, grace period, deferments, and repayment options available to them through the provisions of the Direct Loan program.
The staff of the Office of Student Financial Assistance believe that students can begin this learning process by reviewing our financial aid folder, carefully read all of the correspondence sent to them, complete all of the necessary forms, apply for scholarships, attend any and all workshops offered by our office and above all get all of their questions answered. We wish you the best of luck in your educational endeavors. Have a great school year.