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RCC encourages students to beat scholarship deadline

Scholarships_2014-15Each year Rappahannock Community College distributes nearly 300 scholarship awards, totaling over $300,000, for both entering and returning students. “We strongly encourage all students interested in attending RCC in the upcoming Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 semesters to take advantage of the many scholarships available through RCC’s Educational Foundation,” says RCC financial aid officer Carolyn Ward. “The deadline to apply is March 17.”

Ward adds that RCC’s Financial Aid Office has been making presentations about scholarships and financial aid at local high schools and other community meeting places in the college’s 12-county service region since December. “All in the community who are interested in attending RCC are encouraged to apply!” she affirms.

A recent survey showed that many RCC students do not apply for scholarships because they think they will not qualify. But while some of the available scholarships do depend upon a high grade-point average or extreme financial need, many others are awarded according to field of study, county of residence, high school attended, or other criteria. Persons planning to attend RCC need not worry about which scholarship will match their situation best. Filling out the application just once allows them to be considered for all RCC scholarships.

“Last year we received over 470 applications,” says Ward. “We encourage all to apply online though the RCC website [at http://www.rappahannock.edu/foundation/scholarships], or stop by the college to pick up an application.” Paper copies of the application can also be printed from the website. There is no charge for filing an RCC scholarship application, but applicants must first apply for and gain admission to the college, a process which is also free of charge.

This year, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia has partnered with the Virginia Association of Financial Aid Administrators to sponsor February as Financial Aid Awareness Month, and the first week of February as Super FAFSA Week. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the form used by colleges, universities, and career-technical schools across the country to determine eligibility for federal financial aid, as well as for most need-based financial assistance programs. Virginia Secretary of Education Anne Holton encourages parents and students to take advantage of this opportunity.

“Research suggests that there is a direct correlation between FAFSA completion and college enrollment,” says Holton. “Just by submitting the FAFSA, Virginia’s students make themselves available to receive a variety of financial resources that can help clear the path to enrollment.” RCC’s Student Support Services Office celebrated Financial Aid Awareness Month by holding workshops on February 10 (Warsaw) and 12 (Glenns). These events offered advice on completing the FAFSA and other applications, as well as tips for finding and requesting consideration for non-RCC scholarships. Several students expressed their appreciation for the help.

Brittany Thompson of Westmoreland County said that before the workshop, the only way she knew to find out about scholarships was to go online and “Google” the word. “I was not aware of the bogus websites that try to scam people,” she said.

“I was out of the school loop for getting information on funding my educational goals,” said Shelly Robertson of Lancaster County. “The workshop helped me to sort through many of the questions I had.”

“I was in the dark about scholarships for the longest time,” said New Kent County’s Alexis Lassiter. “I did not know where to begin. But with all this information, I will have my education covered.”

 

Photo: An RCC student fills out the application for scholarships administered by the college’s Educational Foundation. All students completing the application online will be entered in a drawing for two $50 gift cards.

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