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PCC gives students in financial need a big opportunity

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Funding for Oregon Opportunity and federal Pell grants have increased for community college students. The challenge is how to get the students to take advantage of this opportunity.

In partnership with the College Goal Oregon Program (www.getcollegefunds.org), PCC has found a way. The college is hosting Financial Aid Day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, at PCC’s main comprehensive campuses. College campus locations include Cascade (705 N. Killingsworth St.), Sylvania (12000 S.W. 49th Ave.), Rock Creek (17705 S.W. Springville Road) and the Southeast Center (2305 S.E. 82nd Ave.).

This is an opportunity for current and future students to get some help in filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Students don’t need to be enrolled at PCC to participate in Financial Aid Day and those who do attend will be eligible to win a $500 scholarship.

Volunteers will be on hand to help students fill out the FAFSA, either online at a computer or in print. Students should bring their parents if possible and both should have ready their Social Security numbers, birth dates, financial aid PIN numbers, which can be requested at www.pin.ed.gov. Other information needed to fill the form out includes an income statement for 2007 (W-2, last pay stub or 2006 tax return), and current value of assets that include cash, checking, savings and investments.

The day is perfect for students such as Rocio Ceja-Roman, who needs a hand up in paying for college. She works at a Washington County health clinic as a medical assistant where she aids in patient care and serves as a translator. She also attends PCC. By attending PCC and using financial aid, Ceja-Roman hopes to enroll in a nursing program by 2008.

“It was a huge weight off my shoulders,” she said of Financial Aid Day in 2006. “A staff member helped me when I had questions. I was nervous at first, but the Financial Aid Day last year was very helpful. The amount of money I received as a result of it has helped me to pay for half of my credits. To me this event was 100 percent valuable. I had to work full-time and go to school, but with the financial aid help I’ve received I can work part-time. I can get closer to my goal."

The money for the Oregon Opportunity Grants goes to qualified full-time students and eligible part-time students (taking a minimum of six credits). PCC downloads the FAFSA records directly from the Central Processing Center and will then notify students via a letter whether or not they have received an Oregon Opportunity Grant. Eligibility is based on a financial need formula through the Oregon Student Assistance Commission.

The FAFSA form can be filled out annually by current and future college students to determine eligibility for federal student financial aid (including grants, loans, and work-study programs). The information on the form determines eligibility for the Oregon Opportunity and the Pell grants. The FAFSA consists of numerous questions regarding the student’s finances, as well as those of his or her family; these are entered into a formula that determines the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

For more information about Financial Aid Day, please call a location near you: Cascade Campus, (503) 978-5291; Southeast Center, (503) 788-6252; Sylvania Campus, (503) 977-8521; or Rock Creek Campus, (503) 614-7225.

To contact PCC Financial Aid office, please visit http://www.pcc.edu/resources/tuition-fees/financial-aid/day/ or go to the FAFSA form online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »

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