Students who apply for scholarships help reduce debt burden


Chelsey Schallig

Micheal Keesey speaking to students on how to apply for financial aid at a Brown bag workshop.

Chelsey Schallig, Staff Member

Micheal Keesey, financial aid employee, addressed students in the Diablo Valley College Student Union on April 7, educating students on how to apply for financial aid and scholarships.

Whether you earn a degree, certificate, or transfer to a four-year college, financial aid is important. Financial aid is money for college provided by federal, state, and institutional sources. The money is intended to make up the difference between what you and your family can afford in regards to college costs.

Most financial aid doesn’t need to be paid back and there are monthly workshops and computer labs staffed with financial aid experts to assist anyone with the process. The free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act determines what funds you can qualify for. Financial eligibility is determined by family income, size of your family, the number of family members attending college, and other factors.

“If you wish to be considered for financial aid, you need to fill out an application for FAFSA online and it will determine if you’re eligible for both federal and state financial aid,” said Micheal Keesey.

There are a variety of financial aid programs DVC offers, and students are highly encouraged to apply beginning January 1 for the upcoming academic year. The priority deadline date is March 2nd, though you can apply after March 2nd, but students who meet the deadline have priority.

The Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOGW) waives the enrollment fees for California residents for the entire academic year who meet income standards. Work study programs allow students to work part-time on campus to earn money for their education.

Scholarships are a form of aid which are based on personal merit, talent and/or specific qualifications. Funds can come from corporate or private donors and do not need to be paid back. Grants include the Federal Pell Grant and the Federal Supplement Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) and do not need to be paid back as well. Cal grants are funded by the state of California and are administered by the California Student Aid.

“It’s important to check your Insite Portal student email account two weeks after submitting your online application, so you can check if you need to submit further documentation to verify information you submitted, ” said Keesey.

Loans are also available to students, but are not encouraged to use while attending community college. Loans are federal financial aid funds that a student has to repay.

“I do not recommend students to take out a loan while attending community college because there are many opportunities to get free money that can pay for tuition and/or books,” said Keesey.

You will know that your application is complete and filed when you get a receipt of an award letter. An award letter is your notification of what type and amount of financial aid you have been awarded.

“I highly recommend all students to fill out an online application for FAFSA. Any aid you get awarded will help you,” said Keesey.