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ORM Podcast Financial Aid and the Hub Transcript


Hey everyone. Welcome to this week's episode of the Online Roadmap Podcast, which is WVU Online's own podcast series. This is Tammy. And today I am joined with Kate Kim. Kate is the student service manager at the WVU Hub. Welcome to our show today, Kate. Hi, Tammy. Thank you so much for you today. We are really excited to have you here today, so thank you.

And. Would you start out by telling us a little bit about your background and your role here at WVU. Yes, absolutely. I got my master's in education from WVU. I graduated in 2014 and after doing that, I taught high school for about four years. My husband and I were living in North Carolina at the time and we decided to try to move closer to, so I started looking for jobs in the Morgantown area.

And decided to pursue a career change from teaching and found this position at the Hub. So I have been working at the Hub since 2018 as a student service associate and then later as a manager. So I'm in my current role, I'm a manager at the Hub. And that means that I help students and parents directly.

So when they call or submit tickets online, I help with financial aid and account questions, but I am also responsible for the outreach efforts of the Hub. So I present at different events across campus, I, and across the state, or set up those presentations for my colleagues to participate in.

So we have connections across campus with different colleges and organizations, but we also really like to spread out throughout the state as well. And we're trying to build connections at, for example, at local high schools, we go and do FAFSA nights, things like that to help students who are preparing for their college journey.

That's awesome. Thank you. So us that introduction. We often hear students or parents make a statement that they're not eligible for aid because they heard someone else say something and then they get it in their head. How would you respond to a student if you heard them say this? Yes. So this is one of the biggest roadblocks, I believe with students deciding not to file FAFSA, they just don't think that they'll get anything.

And I suppose that there's a glimmer of truth in that, but it's definitely not overall. Correct. That statement of I'm not eligible, so I'm just not gonna do it. They might not be eligible for the aid that they want. for example, like a PE grant PE grant recipients have to have a specific EF C or estimated family contribution on their F that, and of course not everybody is gonna qualify for that.

So, Many students will say, well, I know that my parents make too much for me to get a PE grant. So I'm just not gonna bother with FAFSA. But PE grant is not the only aid that is available, but from doing your FAFSA. So we encourage all students to complete FAFSA because is, there's just so many other things that might be available to them.

EV for example, everybody who completes the FAFSA and is an eligible student would get federal loans. Right now student federal loans are at a, a pretty good low rate, and that's a good way for students to take a small loan out and also so build their. So there's a lot of different, you know, there's a lot of different things that students can be eligible for.

It's just that statement of I'm not eligible for anything might mean that they know that their family income is a little bit too high for the grant money, but that doesn't mean that there's not other things. That's good. I really, I like that you explained the two differences and you're right. I could definitely see that.

They could think that they're not gonna get something or just assume, but I do think it's wonderful that we encourage them to go ahead and apply, because like you said, they never, you never know until you do it going long with that. Are there any other reasons that it's important for students to go ahead and file the FAFSA?

Yes, absolutely. Like I said, we encourage all students to complete the FAFSA mm-hmm because number one, it's a free application. So this is not costing them anything but time. And honestly it should take less than 30 minutes to complete the FAFSA. It's not a, an incredibly big or difficult application.

A note, a note on that if a student is. Having trouble with completing the FAFSA or has specific questions. Our office actually helps students all the time with FAFSA. We on the, our website, which is Hub dot,, we have FAFSA assistance signups, so you can sign up for a zoom appointment and. We can then, you know, get on the computer, help you complete the FAFSA screen, share if necessary.

So we do have that tool available. If any, if that could be helpful to any of the listeners. So FAFSA free. So we encourage all students to do it. You also are not required to use the aid that you are offered. I think that some didn't think that by completing the FAFSA, they're agreeing to take those loans that they know are.

Are offered with FAFSA and they don't want loans, so they just choose not to do it, but you can opt out of any of the aid that you get. So. It doesn't it, it doesn't mean that you are accepting those loans whenever you're completing your FAFSA, there's a whole separate process to accepting and getting those loans to pay onto your account.

Another reason is that some scholarships require a FAFSA. For example, for our West Virginia students pro requires a. FAFSA application for the year that you're initially applying for promise. So you don't have to do it every single year to keep your promise. But the year that you're applying, you do have to complete your FAFSA as part of your promise application.

Another aid program that requires FAFSA is the West Virginia higher education grant. And that one actually does require the FAFSA each year. So there are, you know, those are things that you don't necessarily get just from doing FAFSA. There's a little bit more to those, but they do require it. And the last thing I'll touch on is there are some federal aid programs that require a valid FAFSA.

So for example, these emergency grant programs that we've seen the past couple of years with the COVID relief fact, and then the one that came out of the American rescue. Any student who was eligible to receive one of those grants was eligible because they had a valid fax on file for that year.

So. We of course those, we can't predict that kind of stuff. You know, it's up to the federal government on what any emergency program might look like and when that might come through, but this is a scenario of course, that we can point to and say, this is something extra that you could be eligible for.

If you do have your FAFs on file, even if you're not using any other federal aid that you might have gotten from. I appreciate that you pointed out that the students don't have to take everything they're offered. I think that is an important note. And also, like you said, you never know when something may come up, that you may need it.

And that may be the. Turning point of you getting assistance or not? Yes, absolutely. So will you touch base on the financial aid timeline for us about submitting your FASFA and all of that stuff? Yes, definitely. The FAFSA opens on October 1st for the upcoming academic year. So that means that right now it's March and our FAFSA for the 2223 academic year opened last October.

And. So because of that, we have plenty of time to do the, the FAFSA each year. It's not something that you only get a short window, you get almost a year to complete it before your, your next academic year starts. So although the FAFSA opens October 1st, we do always tell students it is best to complete it as soon as possible, because there are some aid programs that are limited.

And so we always want you to have. All of your information in as soon as possible. So that you're eligible for the maximum amount of aid. WVU has a priority deadline of March 1st. So yesterday was our priority deadline as of the taping of this. And that means that there are some programs. On campus that are limited.

And if you didn't have your FAF a done by March 1st of this year for the upcoming year, you may not have, you know, as much eligibility and aid as you had, as you would have. If you had your FAFSA done earlier The general program. So power grant and the loans, those aren't gonna change. But the grant that I talked about, the F S E O G, that's a limited grant.

And so you have to have your FAFTA in by March 1st for that one work study as well. Has to be in by. By March 1st. There is another deadline for that's important for West Virginia students. And that is April 15th, April 15th is the day that you have to have your FAFSA done for the West Virginia higher education grant for the next year.

That's also a hard deadline. If you are, are eligible in every other way for the West Virginia higher education grant, but you don't get your FAFSA done. By April 15th, then you won't be eligible for it for the upcoming year. So March 1st, for most everything at WVU, April 15th for the higher ed grant. The thing that I want to point out though, is these priority deadlines are.

Exactly that their for priority. It doesn't mean that it's a, a hard deadline for FAFSA. So students who are listening now, who haven't done their FAFSA for 22, 23, yet you can still get aid. You can still do your FAFSA. You can still you know, qualify for several different aid programs. It's just, you're not gonna get maybe the full extent that you would have had you had it done earlier.

So please don't think that if you're filing FAFSA or if you haven't filed FAFSA by March 1st, then it's too late because it's certainly not too late. We even have students who file FAFSA, you know, once the academic year begins so into August and September, and that is still a possibility, students can do that.

But of course, having things done as early as possible is gonna give you the best outcome and the most eligibility for aid.

That's great because I can also see a student who maybe didn't make up their mind in time to start a program, but also if something would come up in their life during a semester and they needed to go in and, you know, Ask for a loan or something to help them through the rest of their semester. It's good to know that they don't have to have it done by March that they could apply for it later in the year.

So as we finish up, is there any other advice that you would offer to a student regarding financial aid paying for college? Yeah, so I have a few number one would of course be start early. File your FAFSA early each year, put a reminder on your calendar or on your phone. Sometime in October, it could be October 1st or you know, some students choose, especially returning students choose to do this on like our fall break or even maybe Thanksgiving break when they're home and have access to their family's financial documents that you for FAFSA file early each year, make it a point to complete your FAFSA and also.

At that time to begin your search for external and private scholarships for the upcoming year stay organized. So write down deadlines, whether you use a planner or some app on your phone, get yourself organized in some way that works for you and include these deadlines. In that system of organization.

So make sure, you know, when your priority deadline is, make sure, you know, what aid you have that needs to be renewed for the upcoming year. And if those aid programs have a deadline and then, like I said, you know, as you're looking for external and private scholarships, anything that has an application also, how has a deadline?

So be sure that you're including those. Understand your aid. So don't just take what you're offered because it's there. If you don't know what it is, please ask somebody. You can call into the Hub. You can send us a ticket, look on our website. Or if you have, you know, a, a trusted advisor professor who understands, you know, ask somebody, we don't want somebody, we don't want a student to take a loan.

Not understanding what it is, not understanding the repayment, not understanding the interest rate and then coming to, after they've graduated, dealing with the consequences of some of the, the financial decisions that they made. We want students to understand everything up front, as much as possible.

So don't wait until you've already taken on debt to understand it, make sure you know what you're getting into, make sure you know, what your options are and make sure that you know, what your, what your aid is and what different things are available to you. Obviously, you know, scholarships and grants are what you want to accept first.

And then loans are kind of your last resort. So just having an understanding of all the different types of aid and everything that's, that's offered to you as a student. So as we close up, I would like to thank you so much for being here with us today, Kate, we covered a lot of great topics and I think that they will really help our students.

And I would like to thank all of you for joining us, and I hope you tune in for our future podcast. Have a great day.

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