Monday, 28 September 2020 10:45

RichmondCC: FAFSA first step in getting money for college

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HAMLET — Paying for college can be a burden. But it doesn’t have to be. There are numerous resources for financial assistance, but the first step in getting money to help pay for college is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as FAFSA.


The FAFSA form for the academic year 2021-2022 opens Oct. 1, and Richmond Community College is holding FAFSA Day on Oct. 5 at the Hamlet Campus and Oct. 6 at the Scotland County Campus to assist people through the application process. 

“Completing the FAFSA form allows you to be considered for federal student aid, which more than 80 percent of our students receive,” said RichmondCC Director of Financial Aid Andrea Daniels. “But even if you don’t qualify for the federal Pell grant, the FAFSA form is how you get considered for other funding resources like grants and scholarships.”

The RichmondCC Foundation offers more than 100 endowed scholarships and additional funding such as the Working Student Scholarship and the Second Chance Scholarship.

FAFSA Goes Where You Go

Daniels noted that no matter where someone intends to go to college, a FAFSA form must be completed in order to be considered for any type of college aid. The staff at RichmondCC is available to help anyone with the FAFSA form even if he or she is planning to go to school elsewhere.

“We encourage everyone to come to one of the FAFSA Day events to get help with the application process. This does not obligate anyone to enroll at RichmondCC. Our goal is to help people get the money they need for college,” Daniels said. 

Making College Possible

Rebecca Sparks, who works at Pinehurst residential home Linden Lodge Foundation, said college would not have been an option for her without the financial assistance she received.

“It would not have been possible for me to go to college without financial aid,” said the 2015 RichmondCC Human Services Technology graduate. “My whole degree was paid for with a Pell Grant. I had zero out of pocket costs.”

Melinda Murphy, senior accountant and owner of Murphy & Associates, also had her entire education at RichmondCC covered by financial aid. 

“Not having to worry about the finances of school, or the burden of the paperwork, allowed me to focus solely on my education,” said the 2017 graduate of the Accounting and Finance program. 

Chad Guinn was a student in the Electric Utility Substation & Relay Technology program at RichmondCC when he made a visit to the Financial Aid Office to learn about a scholarship for working college students who do not qualify for federal aid. He said Financial Aid Assistant Director Mary Bostic would not let him leave until he had completed both the Working Scholarship application and the application for the 100-plus other scholarships offered through the RichmondCC Foundation. 

“Because she took the time to help me complete those applications, my second year of college was paid for by scholarships,” said Guinn, who received not only the Working Scholarship, but also the Robert & Virginia Silvestri Scholarship and Thad & Mary Jane Ussery Scholarship.

Graduating from RichmondCC this past June, Guinn now works as a relay technician for Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories.

RichmondCC nursing graduate Hannah Chambers, also a recipient of the Working Scholarship, is grateful that she took the steps to complete the FAFSA and apply for scholarships.

“The books in the nursing program are very pricey, so it cut down on what I was having to pay out of pocket for books, as well as tuition,” Chambers said. “It helped out a lot because I wasn’t receiving financial aid.”

Taylor Diggs, who works in the emergency department at FirstHealth Moore Regional-Richmond, was also a nursing student at RichmondCC. To help offset the cost of the nursing program, Diggs applied for over 100 scholarships by completing one application form. She was awarded three scholarships.

For More FAFSA Information

To learn more about completing the FAFSA or what to bring to the FAFSA Days on Oct. 5 and 6, call 910-410-1700 or visit www.richmondcc.edu. To get started on completing the FAFSA form when it opens on Oct. 1, visit www.studentaid.gov. RichmondCC’s federal school code is 005464.