BC’s financial aid awareness campaign educates students about their options

Fitzgerald Graves Sr
Renegade cheerleaders support the theme of “Racing” to apply for FASFA

Fitzgerald Graves Sr, Reporter

Bakersfield College hosted a four-day-long financial aid awareness campaign from Feb. 5-Feb. 8. This is the Fifth Annual BC Financial Aid Awareness Month Kick-off. The financial aid staff members convened at the Renegade Cross-Roads area for the resource fair, with tables, booths, and vendors.

The resource fair provided an opportunity for departments associated with financial aid to be more visible to the student body and share information about the various services that each one can offer. Students visiting the booth, were informed about the steps needed to complete the process for applying for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA), while being encouraged to play games for prizes, sign-up for info, get a free slice of pizza and drink, and listen to popular music until a financial aid staffer could answer any questions that the students might have.

Students learned of other ways to finance their way through college outside of grants or loans.

BC student, Steven Lozada said, “I realize that there is a lot more to financial aid other than EOP&S and FASFA. I learned about BOG, work-study and that you can combine financial aid resources and strategies to pay for school. I feel [the fair] was really a good job to give a more comprehensive approach to financial aid.”

Another student, Madison Doeple said, “I learned about Job Speaker and EOP&S. I believe it gave visibility to the financial aid, because there is a whole week dedicated to it.”

The four steps required to qualify for financial aid listed on the flyers handed out by financial workers at the event instructed students to first fill out and submit a completed FASFA online (fafsa.gov) using college code 001118. Then wait for a response from Bakersfield College financial aid office confirming that the application was completed correctly or if further information is needed. After a student receives an award letter they should visit their Inside BC portal to review the finalized Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) knowing that funds will not be released until all eligibility requirements are met.

Once these steps have been completed students should expect to receive a check by mail, or may have funds deposited directly to the student’s personal bank account. It is important to note that March 2 is a deadline for FASFA submission for those students who qualify for Cal-Grants and priority registration.

Financial Aid staff member, Vanesa Hernandez, provided information about past and up-coming workshops for assistance with completing FASFA & Dream Act applications. The remaining workshop days are Feb. 15, Feb. 20-21, and March 1-2.

Hernandez said, “Students will have much easier access to completing a FASFA, because iPhones and tablets are more compatible with the FASFA website and the IRS verification process is more comprehensible as well as easier to acquire needed information for verification. Some of the things students want to keep in mind are, that with the maximum grant funding of 600% it is expected that a student will have acquired a bachelor’s degree and that if a student has not, scholarships and loans will be their only options.”

The Financial Aid Awareness Week kicks-off a month long ambitious effort to provide the knowledge and necessary tools for new and returning students. This information contributes to student’s making informed decisions when goal setting and fine tuning their Student Education Plan (SEP) or

Comprehensive Education Plan (CEP) to align with their financial needs per semester. The urgency and importance to fill-out a FASFA and/or Dream ACT is emphasized in this year Financial Aid Awareness Month theme “racing.”

It all starts with a visit to a Financial Aid booth, a walk up the stairs or a ride on the elevator to the Financial Aid Office located in the East entrance of the Student Services (SS) building on the second floor. Office hours are Monday-Thursday 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Students can call the BC Financial Aid office at (661) 395-4428 if they have any further questions about developing a financial aid strategy.