Financial aid deadline extended

By Jennifer McCabe

Students who have yet to apply for financial aid, student loans or scholarships still can, but should do so as soon as possible.

The deadline for NIU financial aid applications was March 1, but the financial aid office still will take applications for students who want to take advantage of the extension.

Even still, the number of on-time applications is down this year by about five percent, said Jerry Augsburger, director of the student financial aid office. There have been approximately 5,250 applications turned in by deadline, compared to last year’s 5,500.

One reason for the late entries might be from the major changes that were reflected in the applications this year, which were not made available to students until Feb. 1.

The forms in the past were available to students at the beginning of the spring semester, which could be the reason for the applications not being turned in on time, Augsburger said.

On the other hand, Martin said the new applications are much more simple and have cleared up a lot of the problems that were common in the past. Many of the students would not fill out the forms on the same day and information would change between the first form and the second.

Those who submitted their applications on time, should find out if they received any aid by June. If students apply in April, they should find out by the end of July. However if they apply after that, they may not find out until August.

“The loans take two to three months to process and the student will still be billed by the Bursar’s Office. The student will still need to make tuition payments whether or not they find out by then about their assistance,” said Donna Martin, an NIU financial aid counselor.

Award notifications will not be sent out until after the May Board of Regents meeting when tuition rates are decided.

In the 1991-1992 academic year there were 13,000 awards with a total of $48 million for NIU students. There are seven types of awards which include the Perkins Loan, Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) grant, SEOG, Pell Grant, Stafford Loan, SLS Loan and the PLUS Loan. This year there also is the new Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, which requires that the interest be paid back while the student still is in school.

The financial aid office is in the process of entering all of the data from the applications into the computers, so it does not know what kind of problems have been the most common on the applications.

Common problems from past applications included how many people are living in their house at one time or filling out the wrong lines on the application with the incorrect income tax information.

Martin suggests that if the student does not receive any assistance, they should apply for scholarships as soon as possible, since the deadline for many of the scholarships is April 1.

Students should take advantage of the new CASHE program in the SA office, do some research in the Founders Memorial Library and also should look in the research center in the financial aid office.