Saint Leo Helps Families with Financial Aid Questions

January 01, 2009

Saint Leo Helps Families with Financial Aid Questions The unsteady economy has prompted many questions in the media about the costs of college education in the 2009-2010 academic year and beyond, and Saint Leo University administrators are prepared to help families find the answers.

More than 92 percent of traditional-age students at Saint Leo students receive some kind of financial aid.

At a recent reception for prospective freshmen and their parents, Brenda Wright, Saint Leo University’s assistant vice president for student financial services, urged families not to delay in applying for financial aid for the coming academic year.

"We are in a difficult economy, as all of you know," said Wright.

To help, Wright explained to families the importance of filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) early in 2009. The form is used to calculate many forms of financial aid, which can include: grants and scholarships, loans that must be repaid, and the opportunity to earn money at work-study jobs on campus. Families can submit the application after the Jan. 1, 2009 holiday, and are urged to do so as soon as possible. If families wait several months to apply, they could find that scholarship and aid money has already been spent.

Wright also pointed out that Florida residents enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program at a non-profit college or university such as SLU are eligible for the Florida Resident Access Grant, known as FRAG. The state Legislature has consistently funded this program to help Florida students who want to attend college in-state afford tuition at a private institution. The grant amounts are set annually. In the current academic year, eligible Florida freshmen received a grant of $2,837 to attend institutions such as Saint Leo.

Families also need to realize that if they encounter some new economic difficulty after they complete the application - or even after an assistance package has been designed - they should inform the student financial services office. It is possible that aid can be increased to compensate for unexpected problems, Wright said.

The staffers in student financial services realize that sometimes families suddenly suffer a job loss, or another new economic pressure, such as health problems, that diminish college savings funds.

"If you feel you need to tell us something, call or write us a letter," Wright counseled. "You have options, and so do we. And we want to talk to you about them before you make a decision."

Saint Leo’s Student Financial Services office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. The phone numbers to reach the office are (352) 588-7403 for local callers and (800) 240-7658 on the toll-free line. The e-mail address is finaid@saintleo.edu, or, click on "Financial Aid" on the toolbar on Saint Leo’s home page.

Click on this link to read more about the recent President’s Reception at Saint Leo.