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Students Have Financial Aid Opportunities At Merced College

February 19, 2003

With registration on the horizon for the 2003 Summer and Fall sessions, Merced College is urging students to investigate their financial aid opportunities.

“We want to impress upon students and those considering going to college that help is available to them,” said Dr. Allan Grimsby, vice president for Student Services.

“Students are often not aware of the many financial aid programs that are in place,” Dr. Grimsby said. “And, because deadlines are fast approaching, students will need to begin their paperwork soon.”

According to Financial Aid Director Rudy Albritton, the state’s current budget woes are not affecting federal Pell Grants and state Cal Grants.

“Pell Grants are still fully funded,” Albritton said. “And, there are discussions taking place in the U.S. Department of Education about increasing the grant awards.”

Based upon eligibility, Merced College students can receive a maximum of $3,674 in Pell Grants annually. Students can also receive either a Cal Grant B or C. Students eligible for Cal Grant B awards can receive up to $1,551 annually, and those eligible for a Cal Grant C can receive $576 annually. Cal Grant C awards are restricted to students earning certificates in vocational programs such as nursing, radiologic technology, accounting, real estate, administration of justice, and many agriculture programs.

“It is critical that students get their paperwork in time,” Albritton said, noting that only 28 percent of eligible students even apply for Cal Grants. “The money is there, students just need to complete their application on time.”

The deadline to submit applications for Cal Grants is March 3. However, according to Albritton, the FAFSA should also be completed by March 3 to establish eligibility for Cal Grants.

“Students should fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to establish their eligibility, and if they have just one dollar of unmet financial need, they are qualified to receive financial assistance,” Albritton said.

The FAFSA application is available at the Merced College Financial Aid office and at local high schools.

“We conduct weekly workshops that assist students in filing out the FAFSA,” Albritton said. “And, my staff is available to help students any time.”

The College Financial Aid office is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays, and Fridays, and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.

For more information, call the Financial Aid office at 384-6031.

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