JHS helps students look for financial aid

Published 7:46 pm Saturday, January 17, 2009

Finding financial aid for college can be one of the most difficult, time-consuming and stressful for juniors and seniors in high school.

However, one local high school made the process a little easier for its college-bound students and those from other schools last week.

Jemison High School hosted a financial aid workshop Thursday night that was intended to help high school upperclassmen figure out what to do when they are applying for financial aid.

Jemison senior Meagan Jones took the class last year, and what she learned then has been helpful in preparing for this year.

“It’s really given me a head start in looking for financial aid this year,” she said. “There’s just so much to learn about finding financial aid. More schools should do this for their students.”

The school opened up its distance learning lab for the seminar. The presenter was Dr. Tommy Wilson, financial aid advisor at Auburn University. B.J. Pierce, a senior tax advisor from H&R Block in Clanton, also shared helpful information on filing taxes, which is necessary for filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA).

Three things that Wilson stressed were:

There is help to fund toward your postsecondary education.

File the FASFA each year beginning with Jan. 1 your high school senior year.

Contact the financial aid scholarship offices at the school you will be attending.

Some types of federal financial aid available are grants, employment/work study and loans.

Through the use of the lab’s laptop computers, Wilson walked the students, parents and guardians through various Web sites. They also filled out a dummy FASFA form.

Jemison High School counselor Lecrecia Waters said the response was great from the students and parents.

“Upon conclusion of the workshop, I gave out a survey, and our goals were met. One hundred percent of the participants indicated that as a result of the workshop they now better understand the process of applying for federal student aid, and 100 percent of the participants felt that the overall presentation was either good or excellent,” Waters said.

The school hopes to continue to offer these classes each year.