College costs out of reach? Learn how to apply for financial aid

Financial Aid Information Night is set for Feb. 19 at Bucks County Community College

As the cost of higher education keeps climbing, Bucks County Community College can help students reach their academic goals with Financial Aid Information Night on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 6:30 p.m., in the Linksz Pavilion on the Newtown campus. Snow date is Feb. 20.

Details of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) will be explained. When people look at the form for the first time, it can seem overwhelming, but it’s the only way to find out if they qualify for any assistance. The earlier they file, the better.

The FAFSA must be filled out annually by college students and their parents to determine eligibility for federal financial aid. In addition, many states and schools use the information on the form to decide non-federal aid awards, such as institutional grants and scholarships.

To that end, Andrew States of the Bucks County Community College Foundation will speak about scholarship opportunities available to students who choose Bucks. Each year, the public, two-year college distributes more than 250 scholarships and awards. Most of the funds come from the BCCC Foundation, a nonprofit education trust, which is currently accepting applications for scholarships for the 2020-2021 academic year.

At the forum, representatives from Bucks’ Financial Aid Office will discuss the types of aid offered through both the federal government and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

There is a wide range of financial aid available, and it all depends on a student’s situation. For instance, everyone can apply using the FAFSA. Grants are determined based on household income, household size, number of siblings attending college and other factors. All students must complete the FAFSA to receive a federal student loan. At Bucks, more than one-third of students receive some sort of aid grants and loan included.

Financial aid representatives will be available to answer questions after the presentations.

Tuition at Bucks is $165 a credit for county residents. Most credits transfer to four-year colleges and universities.

Bucks County Community College’s Financial Aid Office provides the following tips for applicants:

– Gather all 2018 income tax information before completing the FAFSA (the 2020-21 FAFSA is based on your 2018 income)

– Complete the FAFSA by the deadline prescribed by the school where you are applying (you can complete it online at fafsa.ed.gov)

– Check with your college you will be attending to see if they require other forms to be filed, and to verify their deadlines

– Complete a Master Promissory Note application form and entrance counseling at studentloans.gov – in addition to the FAFSA – if you plan to apply to the Federal Family Education Loan Program, which includes Federal Stafford Loans, subsidized and unsubsidized.

The campus is located at 275 Swamp Road, Newtown, where there is ample free parking. For more information about Financial Aid Information Night, call the Financial Aid Office at 215-968-8200, email finaid@bucks.edu or visit bucks.edu/financialaid. For weather closing information, visit bucks.edu or call the college’s main switchboard at 215-968-8000.