By Mallory Harris | Reporter
With all the changes in the current semester, one constant students can rely on is the release of the FAFSA. Released on Oct. 1, the form allows college students across the nation to apply for federal aid during their college careers. As the form requires supplemental documents and income information, there are many resources on campus that are available to students to help in filling it out correctly.
Student Financial Service’s website has a wide range of resources for students to utilize including videos, timelines, links and more. With clear distinctions between new and returning students on their website, Student Financial Services has updated many tools at their disposal.
Financial aid counselor Jillian Mink explained that even with all these new features to help students, the FAFSA can still be confusing, and that’s where financial aid counselors step in.
“We are here to help through these confusing and troubling times, so if there’s a question where you’re just not 100% sure on what to do — or just completely lost — absolutely reach out to us,” Mink said. “I have an actual print out of the FAFSA with me at all times, but this is what we do. Financial aid is what we do.”
One of the newest assets on campus is the First in Line office. Primarily focusing on first-generation college students, the First in Line Academy has been a part of Baylor since 2015. In helping students find their way around the college experience, First in Line provides monthly workshops and a large community so students can get connected across campus. Michelle Gonzalez, the program director of First in Line, explained how her biggest tip to any college student is to ask for help.
“The biggest thing is just letting people know that you are struggling or if you’re not quite sure how to navigate something, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help,” Gonzalez said. “It’s where that community is really important because it takes away from that power of feeling by yourself on this journey, when that’s not the case.”
With paying for college, First in Line has multiple scholarships as well as tips for students when filling out the FAFSA. In partnering with financial literacy coaches from the McNair Scholars Program, these coaches help students understand what the FAFSA is asking for, along with other financial advice, Gonzalez said.
For prospective students thinking of Baylor, the university requires new students to also fill out the CSS Profile, or the College Scholarship Services. A lot of the same tips used to fill out the FAFSA can be used to also fill out the CSS Profile, such as having documents ready beforehand, Mink explained. It’s also important to note that returning students only have to fill out the FAFSA, and Baylor’s priority deadline for returning students is Feb. 1.
There are multiple ways to reach out to student financial services to get in contact and find help in filling out the FAFSA and CSS Profile. By either calling their office, filling out an inquiry form or meeting through Zoom, students can get in contact with student financial services to get help with financial aid.
“Every year my advice is always the same: take your time and just make sure we complete it sooner rather than later and meeting those priority deadlines,” Mink said.