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Q & A with a Financial Aid Day expert

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Ezequiel Lopez Reyes of Cornelius is a third year marketing student at Portland Community College and plans to transfer to Portland State University in the spring. His success as a student can be traced back to his first time filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Ezequiel Lopez Reyes knows how dizzying the financial aid process can be.

PCC is hosting its annual Financial Aid Day from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Jan. 29 at four college locations to hekp students fill this application out. Staff and student volunteers will be on hand to help students find their way around campus, assist them in completing the forms and submitting the application online in the computer labs. This event is open to any college student seeking help in filling out the FAFSA.

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Reyes, 22, will be volunteering his time to assist with this important event. When he first stepped onto the Rock Creek Campus to enroll in the College Assistance Migrant Program, he found work as an assistant to Rock Creek’s advisors and discovered the importance of filling out the FAFSA early. That financial assistance has made the difference.

The following is a question and answer session highlighting what students need to know to take full advantage of this day at PCC.

Question: What will you be doing for Financial Aid Day?

Reyes: I have quite a bit of experience with financial aid and I provide a service where I work at the START Lab at Rock Creek helping students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. When I began school I knew nothing about it and needed my brother to help me. So my role at Financial Aid Day is to help out students and answer any type of question they may have about it.

Q: What are the top questions you hear from fellow students?

Reyes: They want to know if there will be one-on-one time. They love that one-on-one time where they can have somebody sit down with them to go over it. They don’t want to have one question answered and than have the person go away and wait another 30 minutes to ask another question. They want to know if somebody will be there to help them in-person and there will. This is their chance.

Q: What can students do to make their experience easier?

Reyes: Always come prepared with the required paperwork. Something is always going to pop up. Every year they tend to make a new website or fix up the old website a bit so always come prepared with your social security number, income tax form and driver’s license. Always bring more than what you need. When I was starting out I had to come back twice because I didn’t have something I needed.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you can give a student?

Reyes: Do the FAFSA now and don’t wait. Some people haven’t been awarded for fall term yet and they are the ones that waited until April or May of last year to fill out their financial aid. We don’t want that. We want people to get their financial aid when school starts. It adds a bunch of stress. You already have other things to worry about like finding parking, finding your classes, and we don’t want money to be another thing for you to worry about. We want to be here and want them to come to school.

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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