Now is the time to apply for financial aid

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) – October 1 marked the start of the window for students to begin filling out their free application for Federal Student Aid (commonly known as FAFSA) – and a local financial aid expert breaks down the process and urges students not to wait until the last minute.

“At this time, it is time to apply for scholarships from different institutions. Especially your local colleges, early risers get the worm, especially with scholarships,” said Lisa Pickering, LSUS associate director of financial aid. “To apply for scholarships, there are many different resources for students to apply for.”

One of the most common resources for students is to work with their school’s guidance counselor to find local scholarship opportunities.

“Through civic organizations, also the institutions that they apply for colleges and universities — that’s really the starting point,” Pickering said. “Also for scholarships, not just institutional scholarships for foundation scholarships as our LSUS Foundation generously funds about $250,000 for institutional funds for our current students, so there are many different places they should go and actually taking time to fill out these essay questions that they don’t want to do,” said LSUS Associate Director of Financial Aid Lisa Pickering.

It can be overwhelming for incoming students trying to figure out the actual amount they need to budget for their year, but financial aid offices can also help offer advice on this.

“They have to look at the real direct cost. So that means their tuition and fees, their books, room and board, travel expenses, it all comes into play. And sometimes schools offer this large number of scholarships, but they also have to look at what these direct costs are, because a small private liberal arts college may give a gigantic scholarship, but it costs a lot of money, whereas a public school may not give you that much money, but the cost there is so much less,” Pickering said. “Again, so you really have to figure out what your costs will be.”

LSUS will be hosting a financial aid night for high school students that is free, and they are encouraged to come ask questions and connect with financial aid.