Financial aid eases student worries, concerns

Clarion, Pa.- The Office of Student Financial Services is taking the initiative to branch out, and the outreach

Mary Jo Phillips, freshman financial adviser, and Ragan Griffin, director of student financial services, advise students on their financial aid questions.
Mary Jo Phillips, freshman financial adviser, and Ragan Griffin, director of student financial services, advise students on their financial aid questions.

they are providing is easing the anxious minds of some students.

The office’s first physical outreach event was labeled Financial Aid “To Go,” and staff offered insight and answers to students’ questions on March 26 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the lower level of Eagle Commons.

The program was created to cater to the busy student.

While the setup was intersecting a serviceable amount of student traffic, only several students posed questions about their financial situations.  Director of Financial Services Ragan Griffin and her team addressed all concerns, questions and thoughts.

Q: Why do I have a hold on my student account?

A: Students will have a financial hold on their Clarion Student Center accounts if they have not recently met with their advisers.  To get rid of it, simply go talk to your program adviser, and then he or she will be able to take it off for you.

Q: Do I budget enough for my education?

A: Tuition Management Systems can help you with this.  Students can enroll at clarion.afford.com or call 800-722-4867 for more and easier payment options.

Monthly payment plans and reduced loans are available, and these systems are layaway-like in nature as there is no interest, but only a $35 semester sign-up fee.  They handle not only tuition but also fees for room, board and all other incurred college expenses imposed by Clarion University.

Q: When is the FAFSA due?

A: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is due, as usual, on May 1.  This is very important.  All taxes should be finished before a FAFSA is submitted, but if your taxes are not done at that time, you can estimate values if necessary in order to get the FAFSA in on time.

Q: Can I get more loan money?

A: If you are technically a sophomore here at Clarion with 30 or more credits under your belt, the Federal Stafford Loan can be worth more cash to you.  From this point onward, $500 is added to that loan every semester until you graduate your senior year.  For example, if you are just entering your junior year, you will earn an extra $1,000 value more to this loan than you would have had a year earlier.

Q: What do I do post-undergraduate?

A: Other than loans, there really is not much financial aid available for graduate students.  That being said, student work on the campus is definitely a viable option for making good money in graduate years.

“They just want to know ‘what are my options?’” said Griffin, and the employees of Student Financial Services were glad to let some students know.  While it may not be the most exciting subject, Griffin and her team are present to increase financial literacy amongst students.

“You shouldn’t come to college and worry about money,” remarked Griffin.

Griffin and her team of friendly staff will also be hosting FAFSA Completion Sessions and Financial Aid Help Nights on Wednesday and Thursday, April 8 and 9 from 5 to 7 p.m. in B-16 Carrier Hall.  The phone lines at 814-393-2315 will also be open in these special hours, and all financial questions are encouraged.

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