By Jim DeLa
New College is consistently recognized as an “Best Value” school by organizations including Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and Forbes.
Still, a college education isn’t cheap and most students need help. The New College’s Financial Aid team’s mission is to keep college careers on track.
Associate Director of Financial Aid Kim McCabe says that at some point in their New College experience, 75 percent of students interact with the Financial Aid office. After incoming students fill out an application for federal aid, called FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), “We process all the FAFSA applications,” she said. “We also generate applications for federal and private loans.”
The Financial Aid office also administers the automatic scholarship each New College student receives (up to $15,000 for out-of-state students, and between $1,000-$4,000 for in-state students) depending on high school grade point averages and test scores. “We have an online calculator that can give you a good idea of what you might expect to receive,” McCabe added.
The office reviews any special circumstances that may come into play. Veterans get special consideration, as do applicants with family or personal hardships.
During a student’s time at New College, any funds for off-campus study or work study programs are administered through Financial Aid. “We determine what aid will go with them,” McCabe said.
Communication is a key element in keeping students from running into financial trouble, McCabe said. Besides posters in Ham Center and chalk reminders on sidewalks around campus, the office sends regular email to students and parents. “We send ‘How to Help Your Student’ information to parents twice a year, in October and March,” and ‘How to Keep Your Aid’ emails to students.”
She said it was important to note that financial aid is directly affected by academic performance. “We do academic reviews twice a year,” she said. “Access [to funds] is tied to academic success. When students lose aid when they’re not doing well, it’s always a shock.”
The Financial Aid office, located in a temporary building in the Shell Lot on the Pei Campus, is open for morning appointments and has walk-in hours Monday-Friday from 1-5 p.m. “Whether it’s processing a loan or dealing with missing paperwork, students can come in any time and get the right information,” McCabe said.
Information about every step of the process is also available online.
McCabe noted Financial Aid is the only office on campus that has contact with prospective students, current students and alumni. “As long as they have student loans, we track them. In some cases that can be 30 years.”
McCabe said the best advice she can offer is, “Complete all of your paperwork on time. It impacts your ability to get aid.
“Do the academic work. Parents should communicate with their student to make sure they’re on track … And check your email.”
— Jim DeLa is digital communications coordinator at New College of Florida.
By Jim DeLa