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Financial aid still available, I Can Afford College says

Posted: May 25, 2010 3:46 p.m.
Updated: May 26, 2010 2:58 p.m.
Sacramento, Calif. - I Can Afford College issued a statement today in response to questions concerning state budget cuts and how they will affect financial aid opportunities for community college applicants.

The financial aid organization comfirmed that state budget cuts to community colleges have led to cut backs on some course offerings, but affirmed its commitment to protecting core programs, transfer opportunities to four-year universities, and preserving career technical education and basic skills development classes.

According to I Can Afford College, these cutbacks mean that students need to plan ahead and be aggressive about enrolling early to get the classes they need. However, financial aid is still available to help pay for community college.

There are state and federal grants available, as well as fee waivers for community colleges and other forms of financial aid. A recent study from the Institute of College Access and Success showed that there were millions of dollars in financial aid going unspent at California's community colleges, the financial aid organization said.

March 2 is the deadline for graduating high school seniors or recent graduates to apply for the Cal Grant, an aid program based on need and eligibility. For those not eligible, financial aid is available all year at all of the 112 community colleges across California.

Each college offers a number of financial aid options including:

* Board of Governors Fee Waivers - Based on financial need, the fees for attending a community college can be waived students who qualify. These funds do not need to be paid back.

* Grants - A grant is a type of financial aid that does not have to be repaid. There are both state and federal grants. All grants will have eligibility requirements, which may vary by grant.

The requirements to receive a grant may include things such as financial need and minimum grade point average. To continue to receive a grant, there may be additional course completion standards that show a progression toward a degree or certificate.

* Scholarships - This type of financial aid also does not have to be repaid. These are most often based upon specific qualifications, talents or merit set up by the school or organization granting the scholarship.

* Work Study Programs - These programs allow a student to earn money while attending college through part-time work on or off-campus.

* Loans - Based on various criteria, this form of financial aid must be repaid. However you do not begin paying on these loans until completion of your education and they are typically done at very good interest rates when compared to other types of loans.

California community colleges are still accepting applicants and financial aid is available for students who qualify.


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