It’s time to apply for college aid

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By Kelly Cantrall

Landmark News Service

For many students, choosing and applying to colleges often comes down to dollars and cents.

How to pay for college often is one of the first things students begin to contemplate when the college application process begins. One of the main components in seeking aid is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

The application for 2012-13 funding became available Sunday and can be found at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

That’s the best way to determine a family’s financial situation when it comes to paying for college, and what other means they need to find, said Michael Barlow, the financial aid director at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College.

Barlow encourages students to complete the document by the end of January, because one fund, the College Access Program, typically is depleted by mid-February.

“Timeliness is the most important thing,” Barlow said.

Myra Lewis, a senior counselor at Central Hardin High School, said many students she advises don’t want to complete the FAFSA because they don’t think they’ll qualify for any assistance, but she said everyone should at least try.

Barlow also encourages students to apply for as many scholarships as possible.

Tanya Corder, a senior counselor at John Hardin High School, said most students ask about scholarships and aren’t always aware of the other options that are afforded them, including loans, grants and work-study programs.

Both Corder and Lewis send students a list of scholarships through email and also direct them to websites such as fastweb.com and collegescholarships.com to find national scholarship opportunities.