This week on Informania, Deb the Librarian interviews Sonya Stein, Director of Student Financial Assistance at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Interested in the prospect of financial assistance? Go to http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/financialaid/ to explore your options! Simply filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and the scholarship application through UAOnline tosses your name in the hat for financial assistance. Tips to improve your odds of receiving financial aid follow:
1) Get your application in early! If you get your application for federal assistance in early, you will also be eligible for the Federal (SEOG) Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. You have until June 30, 2014 to submit FAFSA applications for 2013-2014, but if you submit your application for 2014-2015 financial aid this month, you may be well within the time frame of consideration for the SEOG. According to http://studentaid.ed.gov/fafsa#when-fafsa, FAFSA applications for the 2014-15 academic year can be submitted between January 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. For the Alaska Education Grant and Alaska Performance Scholarship for 2014-2015, the deadline is June 30, 2014. (https://fafsa.ed.gov/deadlines.htm#)
February 15, 2014 is the deadline for UAA scholarship application for the next academic year (2014-2015), however, some scholarships accept applications all year round, so be sure to apply! Student Financial Assistance is hosting a series of workshops to answer questions, and aid in developing quality applications. See workshop dates at http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/scholarships/
2) Make sure that scholarship essays are well-written, and grammatically correct! If there are grammatical errors (misspellings, incorrect punctuation) in your essay, they may count as points against you.
3) Include your unique skills, and experiences in your essay. Also, when appropriate, reflect on how you will apply what you learn to give back to the community. You are a unique person with skills and experiences that may match up with a scholarship. Let the reviewers know about internships, talents, skills, and experiences that demonstrate your strengths.
4) Have someone review your essay before you submit it. You can meet with someone from Student Financial Assistance, or you can make an appointment at the Writing Lab in the Learning Resources Center to have a tutor review your essay. This may help catch those grammatical errors, or identify questions that reviews may have.
5) Check your email! After you submit your applications, Student Financial Assistance may send you notifications about scholarships, or have questions for you. If you don’t check your UAA email account, have items forwarded to the email account you do check, or list a preferred email address, so that you get those notifications!
There are workshops available and scheduled support for students who have questions, and need assistance completing these applications. The schedule for February’s FAFSA Frenzy workshops at the University Center can be found at http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/financialaid/index.cfm. You can also call Student Financial Assistance at 786-1840 for more information, or stop by the University Center to speak with someone.
Are you unsure how to manage finances, and are finding yourself in a financial quandary? Within the Student Financial Assistance department, UAA has a new Financial Literacy expert, who is developing workshops and support for students. Stay tuned for more information on a future Informania radio show!
Until then, remember, if you can imagine it, you can become it!
Wishing you a successful semester! Deb the Librarian