By Light Laleye| Feature Editor
On Tuesday, November 15, 2016, many Avon Seniors and their families entered the high school auditorium to participate in Avon High School 2016 financial aid workshop. The program, hosted by the high school guidance office, invited Thomas M. Ratliff, Vice President of Financial Aid at Indiana Wesleyan University, for the eleventh year in the row to speak to students and parents about the financial aid process.
Per guidance counselor, Angie Creed, Avon continues to hold this event year after year because the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is “one if the biggest and most complicated component of the college application process and it is helpful to have professionals who know the process come in and answer some of the questions parents have.”
During the event, Ratliff advised parents about filing the FAFSA. He answered frequently asked questions about the FAFSA, to allow the students to have the best experience possible with their application process. Besides the FAFSA, Ratliff who has over 28 years of financial aid experience discussed scholarships and work study programs.
He also continued to explain the purpose of Federal Direct Loans and how to go about using them. He recommended only borrowing what you need in a Federal Direct Loan and always choosing for subsidized loans before unsubsidized loans. “In a subsidized loan, the government pays interest while in school, while in an unsubsidized loan, the student is responsible for the interest,” Ratliff said.
Ratliff, recommended “shifting away from the easy and towards the free” as federal loans require no collateral or credit check, and are therefore “easy” to receive. He also discussed state aid programs such as the 21st scholar program and Frank O’ Bannon Grant Program. He also touched base on how students can qualify for maximum renewal of grants each year and even earn incentives.
Lastly he advised high school students to not allow finances to rule their decision of what school to attend.
“Find a school where you are going to excel,” Ratliff said. “Look at the school before looking at the cost.”
Creed then closed out the session by reminding everyone of the upcoming FAFSA filing event.
“The program on Monday, November 21, is something that we do that every year and we might even do it twice this year with the early opening of the FAFSA,” Creed said. “The event goes from ten to seven p.m. and basically we have financial aid professionals and laptops come to the school. Parents can them come in and get help with the financial aid process and actually get their FAFSA submitted that day.”