Don't let the paperwork scare you, all students should apply for financial aid
Applying for financial aid can seem just as complicated and frustrating a process as filing your taxes, and it's the season for both.
Many students and parents avoid applying for financial aid for two main reasons: one, because they think the process and paperwork are too complex and two, because they think they won't qualify for anything.
The truth is, everyone can qualify for some kind of financial aid, even if it is just a federal grant, and there are plenty of resources available to help you wade through the paperwork.
"I think financial aid can be scary, a scary process for a lot of folks, but I think it's very important to know that if you have the right resources and so if you contact us, our job is to provide you with the resources that we can for free," said Chris Bowser, Director of Financial Aid at Indian Hills Community College. "Never pay for financial aid searches or scholarship searches, the first "F" in FAFSA is "free", so it should never cost a family any money to see what they are eligible for to go to college."
Bowser said it's always best to file as early as possible, for many reasons. For example, Indian Hills has around 5,000 students, but processes around 7,500 FAFSA forms each year. The paperwork can slow the process down, so check with each college your student has been accepted to for deadlines and timelines.
If you're looking for resources to help you through the application process, the Educational Opportunities Center at Indian Hills is holding classes on many Southeast Iowa campuses. Just bring a copy of your and your parents' most recent Federal Income Tax Return, W-2 or other proof of income. For a schedule of classes, click here.
Another great resources for students of all ages is the Iowa College Access Network.