by AMANDA WINTERS
Financial aid applications at Peninsula College nearly doubled from 2008 to 2010, causing the Financial Aid Office to exhaust most funding sources and tweak operations to adapt to the increase.
In August 2008, the office processed 588 financial aid applications. In August 2010, staff processed 1,129, said Mary Hunchberger, executive director of college advancement and the Peninsula College Foundation.
"We have exhausted most types of available funding for the 2010-2011 academic year," said Krista Francis, director of enrollment services and financial aid. "Because funds are limited, many students who demonstrate financial need are left unserved or underserved."
Francis said the college is only awarding federal Pell grants and federal direct loans at this time for students who are eligible through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid application.
For students who are not Pell eligible, there is a small remainder of tuition waiver grants, she said. Work-study funding has been exhausted as well as most of the school's grant funding, she said.
Despite that, students who are eligible for outside scholarships or sponsorships still should fill out a FAFSA, she said.
"The FAFSA is the main application to determine eligibility for grants, loans and work-study," she said. "Although we have exhausted most of our grant funding and all work-study funding for the 2010-2011 school year, students can still apply for the federal Pell grant, as well as loans if they are interested in receiving student loans."
The 2011-2012 school year FAFSA will be available in January 2011, and the college is hosting a "College Bound" event on Jan. 30 for students interested in applying for financial aid at any college.
Francis said some students may qualify for third-party sponsorships for books or tuition and should check with their employers, tribes or other outside agencies to see if they are eligible.
The Financial Aid Office also advertises scholarships and other funding opportunities to students online.
The office continues to anticipate an increase in applications, Francis said.
To alleviate the extra workload, a part-time assistant was added to the office, deadlines were moved up and public office hours were reduced to allow more time for file processing, Francis said.
Program applications were streamlined, as well as job duties, she said.
Francis said the office is moving toward transferring the financial aid application processing to a paperless environment by using Web technology to communicate with students, increase staff training and extend awareness of financial aid programs and deadlines to the campus and community.
To learn more about the financial aid application process, visit www.pc.ctc.edu/prospective/financialaid/default.asp or call 417-6390.
Reach Amanda Winters at firstname.lastname@example.org.