SIU Administrator: What you need to know about FAFSA

FAFSA application tips

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - College is expensive and most students entering college need financial aid, but it can be a daunting task to find money. So, SIU Enrollment Manager Jennifer DeHaemers encourages students to get the FAFSA application complete soon.

DeHaemers says SIUC is in process of giving awards out for next Fall semester, so you still have time to get your application in.

Lache Knight is a senior finance major at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She said she went through the process of filling out financial aid applications four times.

“I did it all four years without my moms help,” she said.

Like most students entering college, Knight needed scholarships and even student loans.

“I definitely am incurring debt, but that’s kind of what you have to do to go to college nowadays," she said.

On the other hand, Meghan McKinzie is looking start college. She is a high school senior from Belleville, Illinois touring the campus with her mother. Standing right in front of the financial aid office with her FAFSA complete.

“We just got it done this month, and it’s just been like a long process overall,” she said.

McKinzie is just beginning her aid search.

“So we are trying to see how much money we will get from here and once we figure that out, that would be great," McKinzie said.

DeHaemers encourages all students to fill apply for aid because there are many pots of money all over to help students.

“Stick with it. Get through it...fill it out, it can be very beneficial," DeHaemers said.

DeHaemers says the application can be cumbersome, but she reminds students to fill it out as soon as they can because the aid is first come, first serve.

“And so the longer a student waits to complete the FAFSA and turn it in at any institution, the less it that they will get a full Pell Grant or work study because that money has already been given to other students," DeHaemers said.

According to DeHaemer, the average student debt at SIUC is $24,400, which is below state and national average.

She also says 150 student out of 1100 that didn’t fill out FAFSA. She says there’s still time to do it.

Knight said her younger sister is preparing to go to college and she will use her knowledge to help her navigate the process.

“All you can hope is it gets better. I really do,” Knight said.

More tips from DeHaemers:

  • Go to the right website
  • Fill out the application early - (it opens in October)
  • Answer the questions accurately
  • Don’t accidentally inflate your income with your CERTAIN assets (it could impact calculations)
  • Do not forget to sign your documents
  • More local scholarships are available here.

Students interested in attending school in Missouri, the FAFSA deadline in Missouri is April 1.

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