Financial aid offers advice
February 11, 2011
Many students share concerns about paying for college, but many of them aren’t doing all they can to help themselves.
Sam Walker, sophomore Bible major, said “the financial aid application process is confusing.” Walker is one of many students who find figuring out financial aid options difficult.
Jonna Raney, director of OBU student financial services, said “students should do things like file the Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA) as early as possible, explore all OBU scholarship opportunities, apply for scholarships in their local area, and search online for outside scholarships.”
Completing the FAFSA is not difficult as long as you have the necessary tax returns or you have filed your return electronically and therefore, use the IRS data match. Students and parents must go to www.fafsa.gov and complete the form.
Students should have a PIN number if he/she has filed before but if the student forgot it or lost it, they may request a duplicate PIN from the same site before beginning the application process.
Raney said “once the form is submitted, the applicant will receive a response in 2-3 days from the Department of Education and the electronic results are sent OBU.”
The Student Financial Services office imports the information and then immediately begins communicating with the student through letters and emails.
Students may need additional documents and if so, students should submit those documents as quickly as possible.
“Some grant money is limited and awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis, so promptness is crucial. It’s also a good idea to check your self service Banner at www.okbu.edu/ssb on a regular basis to see if you need to submit documents,” Raney said.
OBU offers many scholarships and detailed information regarding them can be found at www.okbu.edu/scholarships.
There are also departmental endowed scholarships that are awarded by various departments. If students are performing well academically, contact the advisor or Dean’s secretary regarding any application needed to apply for them. The deadlines for applying are usually in March or very early April.
Research scholarships that are available in the student’s area of residence. Most civic organizations such as Lions Club, Rotary, Elks, etc. have scholarships and students should simply request an application to apply.
Many employers have scholarships as well. Parents should ask their employer if there are scholarships available for dependents of employees.
Finally, search for scholarships online. There are many free scholarship search sites available. To get started, go to the bottom of the www.okbu.edu/scholarships page. Make sure to only use free sites. The sites that charge a fee are generally scams and students should avoid them.
College is expensive. However, it is an investment in the future. The Student Financial Services team wants to help students in any way they can.
If you have questions or concerns, stop by and visit with your counselor. If your last name is A-G, your counselor is Donna. Students with last names H-P should ask for Debbie and last names Q-Z will speak with Lisa.
Students may also want to “Like” the OBU Student Financial Services facebook page for regular tips and deadline information that is designed to help students maneuver through the process.