On Saturday, March 30, the Cranston Public Library and Roger Williams University hosted the second session in the “Prep for Success” series, presenting information to students who are looking into college and the application process that comes along with it.
This session, held at the Central Library on Sockanosset Cross Road, focused on the basics of financial aid and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.
The session was presented by Pamela Pereira, assistant director of admissions and enrollment management, and Raksmey Pen, career pathways specialist at University College at Roger Williams University.
According to the presentation, federal student aid is provided through the U.S. Department of Education to provide for educational expenses, such as tuition and fees, room and board, and supplies.
Pen said that one of the most important factors resulting from a FAFSA application is the expected family contribution, or EFC. He went on to say that when someone submits a FAFSA, they are automatically considered for a Pell grant, depending on the family’s EFC. Federal grants such as these, according to the presentation, are based on a student applicant’s financial needs.
Another form of financial aid, according to the presentation, is work-study programs. Work-study programs are jobs on or near a college campus through which a student gets paid. Eligibility is also largely based on income.
“You have to apply for the jobs, you have to work for the money,” Pen said.
A final form of financial aid is student loans. Pen said there are two types of student loans – subsidized, which is when the government is paying off interest while a student is in school, and unsubsidized, which is when the loan accrues interest every year while one is still in school.
According to the presentation, there are other resources available from the U.S. government. These includesmilitary benefits, tax benefits, benefits for students who are or had been in foster care and AmeriCorps.
“Some schools will offer military discounts for students,” Pereira said.
The presentation also covered scholarships, which are mostly merit-based.
“Make sure you read the application carefully,” Pereira said. “There will always be criteria for a scholarship. Everything is going to be different.”