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RCC’s FAFSA Day is Saturday, January 27, scholarship to be given away – here’s what you need to know

The federal government has rolled out a new FAFSA form that aims to make the process of applying for financial aid easier. The 2024-2025 FAFSA has been completely revised, but there is help available at Robeson Community College if you need assistance.

What has changed on the FAFSA?

“There is quite a bit of changes,” stated Zilma Lopes, the director of financial aid. “One of the biggest changes for the 2024-2025 FAFSA is that each contributor, each person that has to actually provide information, now has to give consent and that requires each person to be a “contributor.”

The new process will require students to send an email invite to their parents, for example, so that they can contribute tax information for the FAFSA. Doing this will import the tax information into the student’s FAFSA, simplifying the process.

“This is the biggest change we have seen,” Lopes said.

Other changes include far less questions, which Lopes says can be answered in as little as 15-20 minutes.

Another benefit is that questions concerning special circumstances have been included on the form. 

“We can know if a student is in a situation where they just lost their job, or if they are under the age of 24 and they have a parent who is deceased or incarcerated,” Lopes said. “Those questions are being asked at the beginning of the FAFSA and it gives us a better way to help the student.”

Attend FAFSA Day on Saturday, January 27 at RCC, you could win a scholarship

With a new FAFSA in place, staff at Robeson Community College want to make sure that everyone in the community understands the new requirements and has the information they need.

That’s why the Financial Aid Office will be hosting FAFSA Day on Saturday, January 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on the main campus in Lumberton in Building 13. FAFSA Day is a free event that helps to provide one-on-one assistance with FAFSA completion and submission. Admissions Officers will also be available for those who need assistance completing the application to attend Robeson Community College.

“We are very excited about FAFSA day,” Lopes said. “We really are encouraging students to come out to the FAFSA day, it is open to the public, you don’t have to be a RCC student, although we hope that you will be a RCC student, but we will assist any student who comes by.”

A Spanish interpreter will be available, so help will be available in English and Spanish, if needed. Students are asked to bring their 2022 tax transcript. Those under the age of 24 without any dependents (spouse or children), will need to bring at least one parent to help complete the FAFSA documents.

By completing the FAFSA, students will have an opportunity to see the financial aid they are eligible to receive in the form of grants and scholarships that do not have to be paid back as well as access work-study programs at the college they may qualify for.

Just by attending FAFSA Day, you could win a scholarship.

“During FAFSA day, we will have some giveaways to give out, including a scholarship to Robeson Community College as our big door prize,” Lopes said. “Students will be entered into a drawing and we will pick the winner shortly after the event ends.”

“The biggest part is that we want students to know we will be here to help them fill out the FAFSA accurately,” Lopes said. “So please come out, you might win a scholarship to attend Robeson Community College.”

The FAFSA unlocks access to the new Next NC Scholarship

One major opportunity that the FAFSA will unlock for most residents will be the Next NC Scholarship, which is a new financial aid program that helps most North Carolinians from households making $80,000 or less pay for more than half, if not all, of tuition and fees to attend any community college or public university in the state.

The Next NC Scholarship combines the federal Pell Grant with a state-funded financial aid program to form a simplified and predictable scholarship award that’s easier to understand and makes education more affordable for those living in North Carolina.

Applying for the Next NC Scholarship is simple, just submit the FAFSA form, and if the student is eligible, they will receive the scholarship. There are no additional forms to complete.

Other forms of financial aid are available

The main source of financial aid is federal aid, however, there are many state grants available, as well as scholarships through the RCC Foundation that have been created by the generosity of donors. There also may be local funds that you are eligible to receive.

If you have served in the military, there may be Veterans Educational benefits that you qualify for, and RCC’s Financial Aid Office can assist you with that process as well.   

“I really would love to encourage the community to come back to college,” Lopes said. “If you do have dreams or you want to pursue your academic goals, don’t let finances be a barrier or a factor in not achieving your education goals…We can find something for you somehow.”

For more information on financial aid at RCC, please call 910-272-3352, The Financial Aid Office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Friday.