Money Matters

Student Financial Aid - Finding what you need & avoiding what you don't

May 25, 2022 Brought to you by Neighbors Federal Credit Union Episode 6
Money Matters
Student Financial Aid - Finding what you need & avoiding what you don't
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Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Money Matters, host Kim Chapman sits down with LOSFA financial aid counselor Deborah Paul to discuss the ins and outs of finding financial aid to help with college or other secondary education. They discuss everything from when you should start preparing for financial aid to where to find the aid you need. This episode is a can't miss for students and parents looking for assistance in paying for secondary education.

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Welcome to Money Matters, the podcast that focuses on how to use the money you have, make the money you need and save the money you want – brought to you by Neighbors Federal Credit Union.

The information, opinions, and recommendations presented in this Podcast are for general information only and any reliance on the information provided in this Podcast is done at your own risk. This Podcast should not be considered professional advice.

Money Matters Ep 6 – Financial Aid: Find what you need & avoid what you don’t

This transcript is autogenerated

00;00;01;11 - 00;00;12;18

MC

Welcome to Money Matters, a podcast that focuses on how to use the money you have, make the money you need and save the money you want. Now here is your host, Miss Kim Chapman.

00;00;13;19 - 00;00;34;23

Kim Chapman (host)

Welcome to another day and another opportunity for me to talk about money. One of my favorite subjects and if you like learning about money or talking about money, you're in the right place. You're listening to Money Matters. Let's go ahead and get started with my quote. College is part of the American Dream. It shouldn't be part of a financial nightmare unless you sit and think about that for a second.

00;00;35;19 - 00;01;01;23

Kim Chapman (host)

Has the pursuit of higher education come with a price tag that's too much for us to bear? Listen to a few statistics. At half the national debt for student loan is 1.7. $5 trillion. The average amount owed per bottle is $28,950. And about 92% of our student debt are federal student loans. The remaining amount is a private student loan.

 

00;01;02;11 - 00;01;29;25

Kim Chapman (host)

That's a lot of money. Is there a better way to pay for college education without racking up student loan debt? Today we will talk about the benefits and the pitfalls of student loans. Some alternatives to borrowing money and what proactive steps students can take. Now to either reduce or eliminate the need to borrow money for college. So whether you're a parent, a high school student, or maybe even younger today is to show that you don't want to miss.

 

00;01;30;19 - 00;01;53;16

Kim Chapman (host)

My guest today is Miss Deborah Powell. Deborah is a scholarship grant director for the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Aid Assistance a program of the Louisiana Board of Regents that IT ministry that administers TAPS and several other post-secondary scholarship and grant programs over the last 20 years. She has worked as a financial aid counselor at her alma mater, Southern University.

 

00;01;53;24 - 00;02;07;10

Kim Chapman (host)

And may me, as you correctly say, V7 University in Baton Rouge, and a counselor, an assistant director of loans at LSU and the compliance coordinator for the Southern University Department of Athletics. Welcome, Deborah.

 

00;02;07;25 - 00;02;08;20

Deborah Paul (guest)

Thank you, Jim.

 

00;02;08;24 - 00;02;31;27

Kim Chapman (host)

I'm so glad you're with me. Deborah and I met several years ago, actually, at another workshop where basically we were both talking about financial aid and money for students that wanted to prepare for school. And I can tell you both personally and professionally, she has definitely been an asset to me. She's helped me with other workshops. And of course, I've got a junior in college and a junior in high school.

 

00;02;31;27 - 00;02;35;07

Kim Chapman (host)

So I'm going to keep her around as a good friend for a long time.

 

00;02;35;26 - 00;02;36;08

Deborah Paul (guest)

Thank you.

 

00;02;37;03 - 00;02;53;11

Kim Chapman (host)

So we're going to go ahead and get started fast. We couldn't talk about student loans or financial aid without fast food, so I'm going to go ahead and define what fast food is. Right. Free application of federal student aid. But go ahead and tell our listeners what is fast food.

 

00;02;54;05 - 00;03;22;26

Deborah Paul (guest)

The FAFSA is, as you said, the free application for federal student aid. And that is the starting point to looking at aid for post-secondary education. So whether you're going to a vocational technical school proprietary cosmetology, two year, four year in order to seek assistance from the federal government programs, the fast you is required. So once you fill out the fast it opens opportunities for grants and loan programs as determining your eligibility for those.

 

00;03;23;04 - 00;03;33;00

Kim Chapman (host)

All right. And I know this is for high school students. How soon do students have the opportunity to fill out a fast or is it that junior year, their senior year of high school, or can they even fill it out sooner than that?

 

00;03;33;15 - 00;03;57;29

Deborah Paul (guest)

Our students who are seniors can begin completing the fast four on October 1st of their senior year. That's a little bit early. Used to be January of your senior year, but now it's October. So that makes it Students don't have the anxiety of having to deal with all the graduation decisions and other things they come across senior year. So October 1st, you're freshmen to the senior year you can complete the fast so that it's out of the way.

 

00;03;58;11 - 00;04;20;18

Deborah Paul (guest)

And then one thing that changed also is that the FAFSA uses prior prior tax information. So the students aren't to be concerned about, well, they haven't filed taxes yet and so forth, because you're using the income tax information from two years prior. So anyone who is out of school, maybe you have a returning adult in their twenties and thirties who want to seek post-secondary education, they can complete the FAFSA.

 

00;04;20;24 - 00;04;38;05

Deborah Paul (guest)

So right now we're in the 21-22 academic year, and this fall will be the beginning of the 22 to 23 academic year. So someone looking for a financial aid right now will complete the 2022 dash 2023 FAFSA application and that is available online.

 

00;04;38;10 - 00;04;54;09

Kim Chapman (host)

OK. And I know that recently and I'm not sure how recently they may ask for a graduation requirement. And so do you have any insight as to why they had to make it a requirement and are there any exceptions? Are there any cases where a student may not have to fill out a faster OK.

 

00;04;54;09 - 00;05;19;28

Deborah Paul (guest)

The Department of Education, in conjunction with the ABC Board, made that a requirement. One, because too many students were leaving money on the table. Students who may have qualified for financial aid were not applying. So it's a requirement for public high school students. So those parochial and private schools, they aren't required. And just in the last four or five years, Louisiana has ranked in the top three, usually battling with the state of Tennessee for faster completion.

 

00;05;20;08 - 00;05;47;04

Deborah Paul (guest)

So it gives students an opportunity to see because most of the time students will tell you, I can't afford to go to college. And then you say, why? Well, I don't have the money. Then the next question is, have you completed the fast one? No, I haven't. So by making that a requirement, students can see options. Some students may decide, oh, I want I want to do a short term program, you know, maybe a one year technical diploma certificate I might want to do cosmetology, those short term programs by filling out the FAFSA.

 

00;05;47;15 - 00;06;10;07

Deborah Paul (guest)

It gives students the option to look at what we call stackable credentials. So a student may say, I want to be an electrician, and then they may come back and say, well, maybe I want to do construction management so they can build from that electrical degree or that carpentry degree. And then they'll go into an associate program in construction management and then even a bachelor's degree.

 

00;06;10;15 - 00;06;17;27

Deborah Paul (guest)

So it gives them a chance to see what's available to them, how much aid is available from what programs and that sort of thing.

 

00;06;18;10 - 00;06;23;02

Kim Chapman (host)

So who's responsible for filling out the fast? Was the student or is it the parent or is it a combination of both?

 

00;06;23;26 - 00;06;53;21

Deborah Paul (guest)

That's a good question, Kim, and it just depends. If the student is a dependent student, which usually a student in high school is dependent, they're under the age of 24, and in most in most cases, they have not served in the military and become a veteran. Those students, they don't have a dependent that they provide the support for basically their dependent student, which means they would use the parental information of the parent who they live with for the most part of the previous year.

 

00;06;54;05 - 00;07;25;09

Deborah Paul (guest)

So your students who are seniors in high school now graduating this month, actually, they're living with their mother. That's who income they would use on the FAFSA. They may have been claimed by maybe another parent or someone else on a tax return. That's totally separate. The FAFSA is who you lived with. And one thing I want to bring up is that the federal government requires parents to pay for their children to go to college The federal government resources come in where the parent resources fall short.

 

00;07;25;22 - 00;07;56;06

Deborah Paul (guest)

I keep saying parent. That's important because some students may be living with a relative like a grandparent or maybe a neighbor or a counselor, a teacher, a mentor. They are not responsible for putting that child through college. The parent is. So if the parent resources fall short, maybe the parent is deceased or the parent is incarcerated or incapacitated physically or mentally where they cannot provide support, then that's a whole set of different circumstances that we can talk about as we go through this podcast.

 

00;07;56;15 - 00;08;21;10

Deborah Paul (guest)

But students would need their parent information if the parents are married. They would need the information of both parents in that household. If the student's biological parents are divorced and maybe they living with their father and stepmother, they would use the father and stepmother's information. Conversely, if they living with the mother and stepdad and they're married, they would use that information as far as the parent information on the financial aid application.

 

00;08;21;21 - 00;08;23;19

Kim Chapman (host)

And is filling it out a one time deal.

 

00;08;23;29 - 00;08;58;02

Deborah Paul (guest)

I know you have to complete the FAFSA every year. The fast way is, for instance, if you're completing the FAFSA for the 20 to 23 academic year that starts in July of 2022 and it goes through June of 2023 so every year you complete the FAFSA. And one reason is that circumstances change. A student may or may not qualify for, say, a Pell Grant the first time, and then there's something maybe unfortunate, like a job loss or change in circumstances, and that student may qualify for need based, which is the Pell Grant the next year.

 

00;08;58;07 - 00;09;00;24

Deborah Paul (guest)

So it's important that they complete the FAFSA every year.

 

00;09;01;08 - 00;09;06;25

Kim Chapman (host)

And what type of assistance this the fast, but basically determine that a student will have access to.

 

00;09;07;21 - 00;09;28;01

Deborah Paul (guest)

Well it looks at your eligibility for need based aid and not need based aid. So when you look at need based aid that is considered a grant are free money that does not have to be repaid. So when you fill out the FAFSA they'll look at your eligibility for the biggest need grant program, need based program which is the Pell Grant.

 

00;09;28;13 - 00;09;51;23

Deborah Paul (guest)

So Pell Grant is need based. It doesn't matter where you going to school. If you qualify for a Pell Grant, you receive that amount of money, whether it's Harvard or Howard or Baton Rouge Community College or LSU or Southern any school. Your eligibility is based on the information on the fast food, not the cost of the school. So a student will look at need based programs like the Pell Grant.

 

00;09;52;04 - 00;10;18;20

Deborah Paul (guest)

Another federal need based program is called Spog, which is an acronym for Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. So Pell Grant is the LG. And here in Louisiana, the Office of Student Financial Assistance we have another program called the Goal Grant, and that is a need based grant for Louisiana residents. And the only criteria for that program is that the student apply for and receive a Pell Grants.

 

00;10;18;21 - 00;10;39;29

Deborah Paul (guest)

If you receive a Pell Grant, you automatically considered for a Louisiana go grant. So those are the need based programs. There's also federal work study which provides students with work opportunities while they enrolled in college that they can use that the funds from those particular work experiences to help in their educational course that will work study is also need based.

 

00;10;40;12 - 00;11;03;05

Deborah Paul (guest)

Then you get to the loan programs. You have two types of federal direct loans. You have subsidized loans and unsubsidized loans. Federal subsidized loans means the student has financial need. And particularly what happens in that situation is that the student can borrow money and the federal government will pay the interest on those loans while the student is enrolled.

 

00;11;03;28 - 00;11;26;06

Deborah Paul (guest)

On the other hand, students who do not qualify for need based aid, even a need based, subsidized loan, they can qualify for the unsubsidized loan. The loan amounts are the same, but the difference is that the student on the Absence Unsubsidized loan program is charge interest while they enrolled in school. And then, of course, everyone starts paying interest when you go into repayment.

 

00;11;26;22 - 00;11;45;21

Kim Chapman (host)

So I want to kind of go back and we talked about the dependent student needing their parents participation. What happens in a circumstance where you may have a student, they may live with their parents they may live with their guardians, but they're not getting their participation, they're not willing to do taxes, or maybe they don't feel that they are equipped to fill out that type of information.

 

00;11;46;00 - 00;11;51;16

Kim Chapman (host)

What happens with their student and or their resources available to help students and their families fill out a so.

 

00;11;52;03 - 00;12;26;16

Deborah Paul (guest)

You know, our office provides virtual hours and one on one counseling sessions with students regarding that. And it's really unfortunate when parents don't cooperate in helping their kids pursue post-secondary education. A lot of times we refer the student to talk to their school counselor and then to also they know what college they're going to attend, contact the financial aid office at that school in a situation where the student is living with a parent and the parent refuses to provide the information on the FAFSA, the student can still complete the FAFSA.

 

00;12;26;17 - 00;12;53;15

Deborah Paul (guest)

But what happens is they will not be determined eligible for any need based programs. They would only be able to borrow from the student loan programs if the parent is in the home and refuses to provide the information, then you may have a situation where a student is living with someone else and the parent information is not available because let's just say the student, our parents are both deceased, or maybe they were raised by a single parent.

 

00;12;53;23 - 00;13;18;01

Deborah Paul (guest)

They have no whereabouts of, say, the father, and then the mother is incarcerated. Then that student would automatically be considered an independent student which means they would only have to use their information, their income and resources on the financial aid application, even though they may be living with a foster parent or a guardian or a family member in that sort of situation.

 

00;13;18;12 - 00;13;42;09

Deborah Paul (guest)

So it just depends. Each one is unique, but we always our office provides information regarding that. And then also the financial aid office where the student plans to attend would be another resource. And of course, documentation of all these instances are needed to substantiate making a student from dependent to independent, because that's a big thing and schools get audited by the federal government and so forth.

 

00;13;42;09 - 00;14;07;21

Deborah Paul (guest)

So you want to make sure that the student has documents in. And most of the times the school counselor is a good resource for that documentation because they know that who's on the students record at school, they can provide usually a lot of support saying this is the situation. The student may have some information from the Department of Children and Family Services that was like a foster issue, foster parent issue, or some abuse or neglect concern in that they can use that information.

 

00;14;07;29 - 00;14;28;10

Kim Chapman (host)

OK, that would kind of focus because of course, we know most people are so aware of the student loans and how they can help. But the problem is they're student loan debt. So I want to kind of try to focus on how can students and families prepare. So we offer a scholarship at the neighbors Tuition Assistance Program, which is offered through our mascot program with 15 schools.

 

00;14;28;20 - 00;14;48;22

Kim Chapman (host)

And during that process, we actually get to interview students. And one of the questions that we always ask our students in the interview is what would you have done differently to increase your college, you know, your college opportunities to have financial aid? And one thing that we get over and over again is that they wish that they'd taken more AP classes, a dual enrollment.

 

00;14;48;26 - 00;15;09;02

Kim Chapman (host)

So can you speak a little bit on what impact AP courses may have with dual enrollment for students or, you know, maybe they're still in high school? This may be a great opportunity for them to be able to take advantage of this program or these classes so that when they become a senior and they're ready for college, they can look back and say, I took advantage of everything.

 

00;15;09;02 - 00;15;19;25

Kim Chapman (host)

So that's why I don't want to talk about what are some of the programs that can help students prepare financially for college without having to do student loans or at least minimize the amount they have to take.

 

00;15;20;10 - 00;15;38;26

Deborah Paul (guest)

Well, you know, you always hear the quote that college begins in kindergarten. So at that point, you know, students should start thinking, well, at least have the parents helping him to think about, you want to go to college, this is what you have to do. So I say preparation is the biggest part. And I advise students when you get to middle school, start preparing a resume.

 

00;15;38;26 - 00;15;59;26

Deborah Paul (guest)

It's simple as getting a notebook. You know, in fifth grade, I received the award for the best high score in math, or I won the spelling bee, or I was in the Junior Beta Club. I was like the state president. Keep those things in a booklet. Because once you get to 11th and 12th grade and you start applying for scholarships, you can go back and say, Oh, yes, and middle school.

 

00;15;59;26 - 00;16;27;09

Deborah Paul (guest)

I won the state award for Spanish because I was the best Spanish speaker. I interpreter at the Foreign Language Convention and that sort of thing. So keep a record of what you're doing now. There are so, so many more opportunities for dual enrollment than there were, say, ten, 15, 20 years ago. Just in the public school system in Louisiana, each high school is required to teach at least one AP or dual enrollment class on their campus.

 

00;16;27;19 - 00;16;49;10

Deborah Paul (guest)

And you say AP. Well, AP Courses is advanced placement acronym for that. So once a student completes an AP course, they can take the exam at the end of the year. And the AP exam is based on a score of zero to five if a student scores at least a three on that AP exam, guess what? They get college credit for that course.

 

00;16;49;20 - 00;17;12;02

Deborah Paul (guest)

So if you're taking AP courses and some students do qualify to start taking AP courses in ninth grade, they take one or two AP courses, just say to a year. So by the time they graduate high school, that's a courses. Yeah, eight courses. So eight courses. That's really 24 hours of college and that's basically almost one year of college out of the way.

 

00;17;12;11 - 00;17;34;12

Deborah Paul (guest)

So when you think about what it costs to go to college, if you've earned a year of college while in high school, look at the savings you can maybe get out of college in three years as opposed to four I maybe pursue a double major because you got those courses out of the way. There are a lot of opportunities for dual enrollment courses where students will get credit for simultaneously enrolling in a high school course and they'll get in college credit.

 

00;17;34;22 - 00;17;59;00

Deborah Paul (guest)

So what does that mean? Students need to prepare early, start taking the A.c.t. and the SAT in seventh grade, eighth grade. Because when you get to ninth grade, you may be able to start taking those dual enrollment courses, AP courses, and that's a big savings. And I've seen student transcripts where they have earned 45 hours of between dual enrollment and AP courses while they're in high school.

 

00;17;59;00 - 00;18;17;00

Deborah Paul (guest)

So they're starting off mid-year. Sophomore year and say those students get a top scholarship. They only need tops for, say, two and a half years. Well, now I want to go to law school or medical school. I want to get a master's in public policy they can do that because they can still have tax money to help pay for post-secondary well post graduate work.

 

00;18;17;16 - 00;18;21;11

Deborah Paul (guest)

So it's important preparation and look at all those opportunities available.

 

00;18;22;06 - 00;18;35;19

Kim Chapman (host)

And I'm listening to you say that they can already be a sophomore because they're going to get those college credits and they're doing this in high school. So if you're in a public school where free high school, are there any costs associated to take dual enrollment or the advanced placement courses?

 

00;18;35;19 - 00;18;54;08

Deborah Paul (guest)

Not in the high schools, no. Those are offered with the AP courses. They're offering and they don't require the student to pay for the in the year exam for that particular course because the high school is offering that course. Maybe on the private side, the students may have to pay, but I think it's $75. It used to be 75 bucks when you think about it.

 

00;18;54;08 - 00;18;57;08

Deborah Paul (guest)

$75, and you're getting 3 hours of college credit.

 

00;18;57;23 - 00;19;01;15

Kim Chapman (host)

Compared to what it cost to actually pay the university. So those 3 hours.

 

00;19;01;15 - 00;19;37;19

Deborah Paul (guest)

That's a great deal. So yeah, so there's no cost and all enrollment, they're funded by various sources. In Louisiana, for instance, we have SCA which is supplemental course allocation. That program is funded by the Louisiana Department of Education, and each school district gets a certain allocation of funding for their dual enrollment. So some students take dual enrollment through SCA, some school districts, because the school each school district has a performance score right so in order to one of the things that are factored into the performance score is how many students get to take dual enrollment while they're in high school.

 

00;19;37;19 - 00;20;10;05

Deborah Paul (guest)

So some school districts use some of their funding to provide dual enrollment opportunities. And then we also have the TOMS Take Early Start program, which provides dual enrollment classes for students who want to do a vocational or technical degree area. So there are many opportunities that students can do dual enrollment also in summers between 11th and 12th grade, for example, my son, he went to a private high school, but then he went to a college pre college program after 11th grade and he was able to earn 7 hours through that summer program prior to his senior year.

 

00;20;10;10 - 00;20;21;21

Deborah Paul (guest)

So I mean, it costs a couple of thousand dollars, but it was a great experience. He got a taste of what college life was like, lived in a dorm and earned 7 hours you know, prior to going into senior year. So there are a lot of opportunities available out there.

 

00;20;22;03 - 00;20;37;09

Kim Chapman (host)

Well, based on this conversation, I thought I was going to get to risk tomorrow, but it sounds like I need to be in my attic because you mentioned that we need to start saving certificates in the wars from fifth grade. And I had planned to ask you, so what are some of those things that students should be doing in high school?

 

00;20;37;13 - 00;20;50;27

Kim Chapman (host)

But you're saying this actually dates back to elementary, so I need to get in the attic. But what are some other things? What are what are the things students can do that are already in high school? That will definitely increase their opportunities for scholarships?

 

00;20;51;11 - 00;21;11;10

Deborah Paul (guest)

They have a variety of things. You hear about the top scholarship, which is academic base. Then you also know about the athletic scholarships. Oh, she's going to college. You on a volleyball scholarship or tennis or football? Basketball, baseball. But there are so many other scholarships that are based on what your talent, skills and abilities are. A student may be a good presenter, public speaking.

 

00;21;11;10 - 00;21;30;06

Deborah Paul (guest)

There are a lot of oratory contests. The student may sing or they may play a musical instrument, they may be a cheerleader. Those are all scholarship opportunities. If you're a cheerleader in high school, you can travel for a cheerleading squad. And most colleges now have cheerleaders. There's a basketball cheerleading team, and there's one there's an all girls squad and there's a coed squad.

 

00;21;30;06 - 00;21;55;03

Deborah Paul (guest)

So there are a lot of cheerleading opportunities at the college level. Students who may perform just different skills maybe piano recital. You can get a music scholarship because now you sing in the school's mass choir or the school's orchestra. You might play in the orchestra so there are a lot of opportunities with, on the music side, public speaking, just different talents that are available to students.

 

00;21;55;03 - 00;22;15;21

Deborah Paul (guest)

So they should look at all of that and not just think in academic scholarship, because I have a 3.5 and a 30 on the A.c.t.. There are other opportunities depending on what your major is. So focus on those things to to see, you know, maybe you belong to the Beta Club or you're in the National Honor Society. Those may provide scholarship opportunities and then look around in your community.

 

00;22;16;09 - 00;22;40;09

Deborah Paul (guest)

Sometimes students want to apply for the big scholarships, the Bill Gates scholarship, the Walmart scholarships and so forth. And when you read the fine print, you may see that we expect a hundred thousand applicants and we're going to give out five awards. But then if you look, maybe your parent is in the sorority fraternity and their graduate chapter has a scholarship and there might be 30 students applying and they're giving out five awards.

 

00;22;40;16 - 00;23;01;03

Deborah Paul (guest)

Well, that's, you know, you have a five and 20 chance of getting one of those scholarships. So look, locally there are several foundations in the Baton Rouge area, like Baton Rouge Area Foundation, the Pennington Foundation, the Hugh and Angelina Wilson Foundation. All of those groups provide scholarships to students for various opportunities, so they should explore the local scholarships.

 

00;23;01;03 - 00;23;25;13

Deborah Paul (guest)

I know the great the Baton Rouge State Fair, and every year when the fair comes around in October, they give out scholarships. I think almost every high school in the Baton Rouge area for students based on volunteerism. So that's another opportunity, if you like, to volunteer you may be able to apply for a scholarship based on that. Some students with certain medical conditions, there are scholarships designated for that example.

 

00;23;25;13 - 00;23;43;26

Deborah Paul (guest)

My son was cancer. He recovered from cancer. And the American Cancer Society gave him a one year scholarship for college because he was a cancer survivor. So there are some students who may have other illnesses or diseases that may have scholarships directed to those particular situations.

 

00;23;44;07 - 00;23;47;14

Kim Chapman (host)

How so? Interesting. To start looking in applying for these scholarships.

 

00;23;47;22 - 00;24;10;00

Deborah Paul (guest)

It's never too early. So maybe you're in ninth grade and you win a singing contest that may provide a scholarship and that scholarship will be available to you and put on hold until you graduate. So it's always a process of looking for what's available. I always say look for free scholarship searches and our website and my law school that lead that gov office free scholarship searches.

 

00;24;10;00 - 00;24;35;09

Deborah Paul (guest)

And we also post scholarships monthly. But look around and see and you know, X questions maybe you belong to a church that provides a scholarship for its membership who are seniors in high school. So there, you know, some colleges are religious based. For instance, Dillard University is affiliated with the Methodist Church. So you may want to look at that Louisiana College, which just changed your name, but they are affiliated with the Baptist Church.

 

00;24;35;09 - 00;24;47;02

Deborah Paul (guest)

So there are some scouts, some colleges that are affiliated with certain religious denominations that provide scholarships. So, look, they're just no stone is unturned when it comes to finding scholarships.

 

00;24;47;02 - 00;24;58;04

Kim Chapman (host)

So if you have a student that's really ambitious and they're listening to this package and they leave and they're like, I'm going to apply for this, I'm going to apply for that, is there a circumstance where a student can accumulate too much money in scholarships?

 

00;24;58;18 - 00;25;39;01

Deborah Paul (guest)

Very seldom. The only way you if you fill out the FAFSA, that means you are putting yourself in a financial aid budget, which means the school says, OK, you fill out the FAFSA, your cost of attendance, which is includes factors like tuition, books, fees, room and board, transportation, miscellaneous, that's your budget. So you cannot receive more than what your financial aid budget is but on the other hand, if you decide I'm not going to fill out the fast, but I'm just going to apply for all of these scholarships, some students could really make enough money to save for graduate school or maybe get some other luxuries while they're in school.

 

00;25;39;01 - 00;26;05;01

Deborah Paul (guest)

Because if you're just applying for scholarships, maybe you apply for one scholarship and you get lucky and is worth $50,000 a year. If you don't complete the fast, then you would get that money. But most now, most scholarship corporations are requiring students to fill out the fast one because it saves them money. For instance, the Bill Gates scholarship is one that's very popular, and students think, Oh, I got the Bill Gates it pays for everything.

 

00;26;05;01 - 00;26;24;10

Deborah Paul (guest)

But the Bill Gates scholarship requires you to complete the FAFSA. So if you complete the Fast Fund, one of the requirements for Bill Gates is that you qualify for Pell Grants. So guess what? The Pell Grant and everything else that the school offers will come off the bill first, then whatever is left over, that's where the Bill Gates scholarship comes in.

 

00;26;24;19 - 00;26;44;26

Deborah Paul (guest)

So in some instances, the Bill Gates scholarship will not cover as much for one student as another because that one student has tops. They have a Pell Grant they have SLG, they have work study. But the Bill Gates, if they still need, say, $5,000, it'll put that money in. They going to a private school. The remaining balance may be $15,000.

 

00;26;44;26 - 00;26;46;12

Deborah Paul (guest)

Then Bill Gates will add that on.

 

00;26;46;19 - 00;27;00;21

Kim Chapman (host)

OK, and you've mentioned tax a couple of times. I know that that's kind of a household name. If you have a student in high school that's planning to go to college in Louisiana. So talk a little bit about Taps and how that can be a benefit for high school students going to college.

 

00;27;01;02 - 00;27;32;29

Deborah Paul (guest)

Well, one thing I always say about tops is there is no competition among any among your peers when you're looking at TAPS. If you meet the requirements for Taps, guess what? You get the money so it's not we only going to give out a thousand, 10,000, 20,000, 30,000. It's individualized. So a student who earns at least a 20 on the A.c.t. take a specified high school core curriculum and have a 2.5 GPA, they can get tuition at a two or four year college for up to eight semesters.

 

00;27;33;15 - 00;28;00;08

Deborah Paul (guest)

Students who score higher on the A.c.t. and higher GPAs. They can get the performance award, which this year went up to 3.25 GPA. But at 23 on the a.c.t., the honors award, which gives students an additional $400 a semester, requires at least a 27 on the A.c.t. and a 3.25 high school GPA. So that's available to students. Students who don't meet those higher requirements.

 

00;28;00;16 - 00;28;21;03

Deborah Paul (guest)

They can still get the top stick award and top targets for students who want to pursue a vocational or technical degree area, they need at least a 17 on the A.c.t. and a 2.5 in certain high school courses. Through the Jumpstart curriculum, they can get tuition at a two year program. So those are available for students in that arena.

 

00;28;21;11 - 00;28;24;07

Deborah Paul (guest)

Then you also have other programs that may come into play.

 

00;28;24;20 - 00;28;45;09

Kim Chapman (host)

And so of course I know in every school there are going to be those late bloomers, and we keep hearing that 2.5 GPA or there are opportunities for students that don't quite get that 2.5. Maybe they have a 2.0, maybe even lower than that. Are there opportunities for these students to be able to get free funds through scholarships or even through Fast four?

 

00;28;46;02 - 00;29;07;20

Deborah Paul (guest)

Well, with the Fast four, that would be the first thing I would look at there. If they qualify for need based aid, that would be the route to go with the GPA is not at least a 2.5. So those students would receive the Pell Grant in order to continue receiving Pell Grant from year to year. You have to meet the school's satisfactory academic progress requirements.

 

00;29;07;26 - 00;29;30;25

Deborah Paul (guest)

And in most cases, that's a 2.0 and pass at least 67% of the courses that you enroll in, which means if you start off with 15 hours and you only earn six and you get a 4.0 and you do that year round, you're not going to meet the AP requirements because you're not passing enough hours because you started out with 15, now you're at six.

 

00;29;31;06 - 00;29;50;21

Deborah Paul (guest)

So it just it depends on what those programs are. So they should just look at the requirements for that. But then some students who may not have a 2.0, they may be a good musician, maybe they can apply to be in the band and get a drum drum line scholarship, or they might be a good athlete. So not all scholarships are based on GPA.

 

00;29;50;21 - 00;29;59;02

Deborah Paul (guest)

So they shouldn't say because I don't have a 2.5, I'm not going to go to college, I'm not going to look at scholarships because you may have other talents that would warrant you consideration.

 

00;29;59;16 - 00;30;21;22

Kim Chapman (host)

And I know a lot of our focus has been on graduating students, high school students that are about to enter their freshman year in college, which I know a lot of scholarships are based on that particular criteria. Are there opportunities for second year college students, third year, or maybe somebody that took that gap year, if you will, and maybe they waited a year or two before entering college?

 

00;30;21;27 - 00;30;28;06

Kim Chapman (host)

Are there opportunities for them with those students even still have to fill out a fast one if they didn't go immediately into college.

 

00;30;28;24 - 00;30;53;14

Deborah Paul (guest)

First for to preserve your time eligibility, you need to apply by July 1st after your high school graduation. So you could still take a gap year, qualify for tops and decide you want to tour, you know, year four year before you start college. And that would be held in place for you. Now, for those students who are returning second, third or fourth year, again, the lot the FAFSA for those years, they may be out of high school.

 

00;30;53;14 - 00;31;13;07

Deborah Paul (guest)

You only had a 2.8 GPA. Then you you have you were at a high school with a strong, hard academic background. And then you get to college and you say, oh, this is easy. And you get a 3.5 the end of your freshman year. Maybe you're majoring in computer science and you can go to the computer science department and say, I have a 3.5 GPA at the my first year.

 

00;31;13;16 - 00;31;28;28

Deborah Paul (guest)

Can I apply for a scholarship with you all? Even some of the honors colleges, you may not qualify out of high school, but if you have a good academic record, a sound record at the end of your freshman year, you can approach to honors college and say, I want to apply to be a member and get a scholarship.

 

00;31;29;09 - 00;31;44;14

Deborah Paul (guest)

So it's just not looking at what happens at the end of high school because some students with high academic credentials don't fare as well in college because they think it's going to be easier than it is. And others who have worked hard in high school, they get to college and realize all my hard work is paying off and now I'm doing better.

 

00;31;44;29 - 00;32;02;27

Kim Chapman (host)

OK, so we've got to FAFSAward. We've talked about Taps, we've talked about those scholarships. And so what is the role? I wanted to talk a little bit about guidance counselors, because I know that they're supposed to be in place to help students. But, you know, unfortunately, often we've come in contact with students and they're just at a loss.

 

00;32;02;27 - 00;32;15;06

Kim Chapman (host)

They know about fast buck, but they don't have any guidance or directions. What should they be asking? What questions should they be asking? Their guidance counselors are what should they be expecting from them in terms of helping them prepare for college.

 

00;32;16;01 - 00;32;41;13

Deborah Paul (guest)

You know, in counseling now is so different because the counselors are now inundated with dealing with a lot of social issues that they weren't 20 years ago. And some schools now are hiring specialists that deal with just the college readiness side of it. So that's been helpful in those ways. But there are a lot of resources that students can do on their own, particularly with the technology that we have available to us.

 

00;32;41;20 - 00;33;01;21

Deborah Paul (guest)

They can go to the student aid that edX, that G-o-v, which is the federal website that walks you through everything step by step. You know, X questions that the parents went to college, kind of pick their brains look at older siblings who have gone to school and see what the process is. X questions the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance.

 

00;33;01;21 - 00;33;20;12

Deborah Paul (guest)

And my last for that, Ellie, that glove is another great resource. So there are a lot of online resources to help students and then to also a lot of counselors will post information of they still do that outside their counseling. Those that tell students this and then the recruiters, all of the high schools have recruiters that come to events at the high school.

 

00;33;20;25 - 00;33;36;23

Deborah Paul (guest)

So you can even if you don't want to go to that college. But it might be good to visit that recruiter just to see what they're talking about because the process is going to be the same. You apply for admissions, you apply for financial aid, you fill out a house, you complete your housing deposit you put in your summer register summer orientation.

 

00;33;36;23 - 00;33;59;05

Deborah Paul (guest)

So all of those things are the same, just maybe a little bit different in each college. So no talk to college recruiters if there's a college day is bad news. Parents usually has a big career fair in the fall that it's open. There are some day events where some schools are bused in then there are some night events where students can bring their parents and talk to the college professionals that are out there.

 

00;33;59;22 - 00;34;25;17

Kim Chapman (host)

And then I want to ask you about preparation for applying for scholarships. I think during Coleville only because of COVID. I ran across this website because I believe this was an organization maybe in Ohio, but basically it was called Mighty Riders. And what this organization did was pool high school students together, and they worked on their writing skills, specifically essay writing skills, because so many essays or so many scholarships are based on it.

 

00;34;25;17 - 00;34;48;13

Kim Chapman (host)

Every time I tell my son for a scholarship, that means I got to write another essay. And he absolutely hated it. But I found that this was a resource that could brighten or kind of sharpen your skills. So do you know if any other resources are just tools students can use as they're preparing for it to apply for these scholarships, especially if it's going to be essay based, what resources are out there to just give them that advantage?

 

00;34;48;26 - 00;35;10;29

Deborah Paul (guest)

I know one local is 100 black men organization. They provide active prep, which would include something on the essay writing side. Also in some high schools do actually help students at the end of their junior year to write a really good essay that is on a generic topic so they can use that same essay over and over again for a variety of different scholarships.

 

00;35;10;29 - 00;35;28;03

Deborah Paul (guest)

So that's one of the benefits of some of the high schools who have the staff available to help students write those essays. But I would look at the library. The library is a wealth of information. They provide a lot of resources and, you know, just a matter of going to their website and seeing what's on offer, you know, essay, essay, writing workshop.

 

00;35;28;10 - 00;35;52;02

Deborah Paul (guest)

So some of the organizations that students are involved in, like the Beta Club and National on of Society, they may offer those workshops also to the membership to help them in that endeavor. But, you know, it's never too early to start looking at what's available if you know that you want to be major in aviation in Louisiana. Louisiana Tech has an aviation program, so look and see what's required there.

 

00;35;52;08 - 00;36;10;24

Deborah Paul (guest)

Know what high school courses should I be taking and how should I sharpen up on my math skills? Because, you know, you're looking at calculus and those types of things on getting an airplane up and flying and that sort of thing. So look at where you what you want to majoring in so you can do a one of those career assessments to see what you're good at.

 

00;36;10;24 - 00;36;27;22

Deborah Paul (guest)

For instance, if you like working outside, but then you say you want to be an accountant, that probably doesn't work well. Or if you say you like working outside, then you have to look at what programs. You know, a therapeutic recreation aid would be a person that wants to work outside or a coach and that sort of thing.

 

00;36;27;29 - 00;36;46;22

Deborah Paul (guest)

So look at where you sit in those career assessment areas and see what is that you want to do and then start making plans. I mean, you have students in ninth and 10th grade that says, I want to be a teacher, I want to be a doctor, or I want to be a physical therapist. You know, students who say I want to be a doctor, but they don't want to take four years of science, that doesn't really work well.

 

00;36;47;00 - 00;36;50;27

Deborah Paul (guest)

So you have to look at where you want to go, what you want to do, and what it takes you to get there.

 

00;36;51;08 - 00;37;07;04

Kim Chapman (host)

And I know some of the parents or adults listening or at different stages, some of them have newborns. And I know many parents like to go ahead and start that college fund as soon as the student is born. Because we know college is an expense. Then you have some that maybe they're in middle school when they're saying, OK, I've got time.

 

00;37;07;09 - 00;37;28;24

Kim Chapman (host)

And then, of course, there are some that are graduating probably as we speak in there, like, oh, my goodness, you know, where do I start from here? So what pieces of advice can you give to parents at each stage in terms of how they should prepare? Because what college, especially if you have a newborn and you're looking at college, how can they determine how much it's going to be 18 years from now?

 

00;37;29;24 - 00;37;52;15

Deborah Paul (guest)

Well, one thing that helps, we have a 529 education savings plan called START. So you can save for a child. And, you know, for a parent with a newborn I would save a smaller amount because you're looking at a newborn in 18 years having to access those funds. On the other hand, conversely, if you have a student that's in ninth or 10th grade need to be a little more aggressive in your savings.

 

00;37;53;06 - 00;38;13;13

Deborah Paul (guest)

But then if you know that your child may qualify for maybe an athletic or academic scholarship, because of that, maybe in ninth grade, they might make a 25 in the a.c.t.. Well, that's pretty high for a ninth grader. So you can put your resources and going in that direction saying, OK, so you probably going to get an academic scholarship.

 

00;38;13;20 - 00;38;24;22

Deborah Paul (guest)

So maybe there's two other children in the household and you can divert those funds, particularly with a start account. If you have money in a part of an A pool for one student and that student doesn't use it, you can always train.