June 6, 2020

Embrace the term poor college student

This archived article was written by: Brooke Van Wagoner

“It’s free money now, it’s easy to get, but it adds up.” This is the warning that Kim Booth, director of financial aid and scholarships gives to any student considering a student loan.
He would encourage anyone to find other means to pay for school. “If you can make it through without incurring debt that you’re going to have to pay back later then I would do whatever I could to help you with that.
“In some situations, we have people literally living off their financial aid. I always tell students you know I would really like you to embrace this term, and that is ‘poor college student’.”
We all know that before college, a lot of expenses were taken care of by our parents. For example, we didn’t need to worry about buying a roll of toilet paper or toothpaste. Those were the necessities some of us took for granted. Upon arrival at USU Eastern there may have been a substantial transition into the real world.
While adjusting to these new responsibilities we take on as adults we should give heed to Booth’s advice. Embrace the term “poor college student”.
How then, does a student stay out of debt? There are a lot of different options the school offers, such as scholarships: academic and departmental, state grants, Pell grants, and payment plans.
How to apply for scholarships: USU Eastern offers scholarships for freshman to transfer students. On the usu.edu website, click apply, then underneath scholarships there are many different options. Click on the one that fits you.
How to appeal scholarships: for those students who did not uphold the requirements for their scholarship last semester, there is still a chance you can write an appeal and keep it for next year. On the usu.edu website, go to Apply > Scholarships > Scholarship Appeals. From there, print out the form and bring it filled out to the financial aid office. The deadline is May 1.
Payment plans: get an early start on payment plans and you are eligible to divide your tuition into four, more manageable payments across four months. There is no interest accrued and the fee is $50. You can set these up online. Just log into the TouchNet sytem and click on the payment plan tab. From there go to registration and payment plans.
Financial aid: go to fafsa.ed.gov and have your tax information ready, as well as your parents/responsible guardians. The service is free. There is no deadline for FAFSA.
After all these options are exhausted, Booth says “Take the least amount of loan debt that you need.” He is serious. Don’t take student loans lightly. He goes on to say, “People literally leave here with $25-30,000 of debt and an associate’s degree”.
Embracing the term “poor college student” may not be glamorous, but that’s what college is all about. Bring on the Ramen Noodles and care packages from mom, forget the debt.
For information click financial aid on USU’s homepage or call the financial aid office at 435-797-0173.

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