There's probably no topic more on the minds of parents of college age students than financial aid. For many of these parents, and students, too, however, unraveling the mysteries of finding and securing the best financial aid package can be daunting.
"That's why we’re trying to make it easier for everyone and equip them with the necessary information to get the most aid that is available," said Ivon Nunez, director of student financial aid services at NJIT. To those ends, NJIT has published an electronic, six-page free newsletter featuring a helpful one-year calendar, with deadlines for federal applications, financial aid websites, Pell grants and more: http://www.njit.edu/financialaid/docs/fa-news11S.pdf
(ATTENTION EDITORS: Keep Nunez on your short list for interviews about money-saving tips and helpful ideas to benefit college-bound students and parents. Call Sheryl Weinstein for details, 974-596-3436.)
Top tips include:
- Don’t wait until taxes are filed to complete a FAFSA: Use estimated numbers.
- Income is just one of several factors determining financial aid eligibility.
- Untaxed Social Security benefits, earned income credit, child tax credit and AFDC payments are not counted when calculating eligibility.
- A dependent student is expected to contribute 35 percent of his or her net worth.
- The government does not consider a parents’ home equity or retirement funds when calculating money to be spent on a student’s education.
Student Financial Aid Awareness Week is set for Feb. 9-12, 2010 at NJIT. The weeklong workshop series follows closely on the heels of the upcoming College Goal Sunday, set this year for Jan. 30, 2011 (snow date Feb. 13, 2011) from 1-4 p.m. in the second floor ballroom of NJIT’s Campus Center. For campus directions visit: http://www.njit.edu/about/visit/gettingtonjit.php
The free, day-long, financial aid workshop open to the public is designed to help low-income high school seniors and their parents better understand financial aid opportunities. Although walk-ins are welcome, advance registration is desirable. For more information, call Monique Paden Hutchinson at (973) 596-3682. Hutchinson, who organized the event, is assistant director of NJIT's Center for Pre-College Programs.
More than 300 students and parents are expected to attend. "Every year, we draw more people," said Nunez,. "We’ve been so successful drawing crowds, that we’ve helped other colleges increase attendance."