By Giana Pollock

Financial aid opportunities for the upcoming year at Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) have been announced. Sherri Anderson, one of the five workers at the Financial Aid Office, has provided the MainSheet with the answers to all of the financial aid questions one might have.   

4Cs offers “grant aid- grants, scholarships, and tuition waivers, self help aid- student loans and work study, and VA education benefits,” Anderson said. All of which can be found at https://www.capecod.edu/financialaid/ .   

Figuring out where to begin your financial aid journey can be difficult. Anderson said to start with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid ( FAFSA).   

“The Financial Aid Office staff is well trained and always available to help by phone,  

Zoom, or email since our in-office resource room is currently unavailable,” said Anderson. “Mistakes can slow down the process. It is important to take the time to read instructions for each question rather than assuming. Certain types of financial aid require extra steps such as student loans. Military/VA benefits have a separate application site. Students must apply and be accepted to the College. Classes must match program requirements, so it is important to work closely with an advisor. If students don’t meet federal student aid satisfactory academic progress requirements, they may have to submit a written explanation (appeal). Many applicants are unaware that each school’s Financial Aid Office determines eligibility for assistance. The  

FAFSA processing center distributes applications to up to ten schools at the student’s request.”  

Wondering if all the work put into applying is worth it? Anderson said there are definitely benefits to applying to financial aid.   

“The benefit to the student is reducing the cost of attending college,” said Anderson. “Not all financial aid is awarded based on financial need. Many scholarships require the results of the FAFSA. Most student emergency funding depends on data from the FAFSA. Students can receive a low cost federal student loan that is not based on credit, income, or a co-signer.”  

The chances of receiving the financial aid opportunities one applies for is actually more likely than assumed.   

“All forms of gift aid administered in the Financial Aid Office are fully awarded each year based on fund eligibility guidelines, amount of funds available, and often on a rolling basis,” said Anderson. “In 2019-20, 4Cs Financial Aid processed over $8.9million from all sources of financial aid to just over 2000 students. Nearly 90% of these students received some grant or scholarship assistance. Of the $8.9million, approximately $2.4million was in the form of loans, primarily federal student loans that are repaid after a student leaves school. Of the 400 students who borrowed loans, only half did not receive any other form of aid.”  

Deadlines are something important to keep in mind, especially when applying for financial aid.  

“The FAFSA can be completed as early as October the year before starting College.   

(example: 10/1/20 opened the FAFSAs for 2021-22 school year),” said Anderson.  

“Massachusetts state funding has a priority due date of May 1st prior to the Fall semester. The Financial Aid Office continues to accept applications throughout the school year as long as the student is enrolled.”