The time to apply for financial aid is now

Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 11:59 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - October 1st marked the start of the window for students to begin filling out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (commonly known as FAFSA) — and one local financial aid expert breaks down the process, and urges students not to wait until the last minute.

“Right now is the time to be applying for scholarships through different institutions. Especially your local colleges, the early bird gets the worm, especially with scholarships,” said Associate Director of LSUS Financial Aid Lisa Pickering. “Applying for scholarships, there’s a lot of different resources out there for students to apply.”

One of the most common resources for students is working with their school’s guidance counselor to find local scholarship opportunities.

“Through civic organizations, also the institutions they’re applying for the colleges and universities — that’s the starting point really,” Pickering said. “Also for scholarships not only for institutional scholarships for foundation scholarship like our LSUS Foundation generously funds about $250,000 for institutional funds for our continuing students, so there’s lots of different places they should go and actually take some time to fill out those essay questions that they don’t want to do,” said Associate Director of LSUS Financial Aid, Lisa Pickering.

It can be overwhelming for incoming college students to try to figure out the actual amount they need to budget for their year, but financial aid offices can help offer guidance with that as well.

“They need to look at the actual direct cost. So that means their tuition and fees, their books, the room and board, the travel expenses, that all kind of goes into the picture. And sometimes schools will offer this great big scholarship number, but they also need to look at what those direct costs are because a private small liberal arts college may give a gigantic scholarship but it costs a whole lot of money, whereas a state school may not offer you maybe not quite as much money but the cost there is so much lower,” Pickering said. “Again, so you really need to bottom line what your costs are going to be.”

LSUS will host a financial aid night for high school students that is free to attend, and they’re encouraged to come with questions and connect with financial aid.