New reality for college applicants

By Tracy Clemons – bio|e-mail

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA)- For thousands of high school seniors in our area, it's time to fill out college applications.

With many colleges facing cuts, and many families struggling to make it day to day without a tuition bill, those seniors face a new reality.

Juaqula Gater is working on her associate's in Criminal Justice at Career Technical College, but she hopes to get a bachelor's in the same field at Wiley College. Her biggest concern, which she shares with many Shreveport Job Corps Center classmates, is financial aid.

"I had a lot of problems with CTC with financial aid. When I started, I didn't know what was really going on. I was just signing up and didn't really know," Gater says.

"I filled out my FAFSA and once I filled that out, I had seen that I was able to get all my grants. Hopefully that'll work out as planned," says Maurio Franklin.

In a time when college funding is being slashed, for aid that's specific to each college, LSUS Financial Aid Director Betty McCrary stresses that deadlines are more important than ever.

"Schools typically have a certain amount of money that they're going to award in scholarships, and if you miss the deadline, that's almost a way to weed you out, and you don't want to give a reason for you to be weeded out for a scholarship."

But still, Wiley college enrollment counselor Jamecia Murray says one piece of age-old financial aid advice still holds: "Apply as early as January. Make sure you apply because that money---you're first for that money."

Betty McCrary says the deadline to apply for scholarships for most Louisiana schools is the beginning of December.

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