By Mohammad Mujahed
The importance of financial aid is something that many students on campus take for granted.
Last week was Financial Aid Awareness Week at Youngstown State University and the Office of Financial Aid is making sure students are set to apply for financial aid.
Elaine Ruse, director of the department of financial aid, said financial aid is crucial for students.
“Students can begin the process of applying for financial aid … by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid,” Ruse said. “YSU’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships devotes time, specifically Financial Aid Awareness Week, to provide essential information about the FAFSA application process and the federal, state and institutional financial aid programs that students may qualify to receive.”
The department is trying to spread awareness not just to college students. It also wants to inform high school students about the benefits of financial aid.
“We spread awareness through marketing and outreach to local area high schools,” Ruse said. “For prospective YSU students and parents, we conduct numerous off-campus financial aid night programs at local area high schools and host an on-campus community service Financial Aid Night event to educate and assist with FAFSA application completion.”
For Caitlyn Risley, a student worker in the department of financial aid, said she and the department are helping her fellow students with financial aid.
“The awareness week is all about helping current YSU students understand what everything means in the financial aid department,” Risley said.
She added that she has had her own experiences and struggles.
“I, along with many other students, was confused on just about everything when it came to financial aid and the office staff can help you figure out every single detail in order to make college run smoother,” Risley said.
“Financial aid is important for students to understand because if they do not understand they could put themselves in situations where they have to drop out because they can not pay,” she added.
Risley also stressed the importance of education pertaining to the many issues of financial aid.
“If students are not informed on issues regarding their accounts, they could be facing issues with scheduling down the road, issues with federal grants or even not being able to live on campus,” she said.
Norman Chapman, a senior political science major, said is it essential for a student to understand and apply for financial aid.
“It gives them motivation in continuing schooling at a higher education,” Chapman said. “More educated people would bring more jobs that would benefit the country as a whole.”
Making sure every student graduates is a key goal the department attempting to help with.
“Financial aid plays a critical role in the degree completion of students. Less stress regarding finances and/or having enough financial aid resources to pay for tuition and fees to complete education goals make it possible for students to concentrate on their studies,” Ruse said.
“The earlier students apply for grants and scholarships, the more gift aid assistance they can be considered to receive. Students who qualify for and receive sufficient resources to pay for college develop financial stability and reduce reliance on student loans,” she added.