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Do you want to go to college?

Attending college is a very important decision and requires a lot of planning. There are more than a few steps to take before you actually step onto the college campus and into the classroom. There are four basic areas to address; career goals, admissions applications, financial aid applications, and registration for college classes. Here is a quick overview.

Career Goals

You should have an idea which career you might like to pursue in your quest for a bachelor’s degree.  For most people this is the driving factor for going to college. You will also want to know if there is demand for people this field and how much you would get paid. Consider whether this career path fits your personality, your personal needs and lifestyle, and your family’s needs. Your EOC advisor will ask you questions to help you clarify your goals. You will be informed about the requirements and options associated with your career ideas.

Admissions

After reviewing your options, you will choose a college that offers a course of study leading to your career choice. Then you will complete an admissions application, take placement or college entry exams, choose a major or field of study, see an advisor from this institution, choose which classes you will take during your first semester and complete the registration process. Many colleges have deadlines that require you to begin the process three to six months before classes begin.

Financial Aid

Finding funds to pay for college can be a challenge. You increase your chances for success if you invest time and energy to identify those grants, scholarships, or loans for which you may be eligible.

Paying for College

The EOC helps eligible participants understand and navigate the financial aid process in order to find funds to attend college, university, or vocational school. The EOC does not take in money nor does it provide funds to participants. The EOC acts as a clearinghouse to help participants identify the sources of funding for which they may be eligible and apply for the funding. Most colleges require that you complete the online federal financial aid application (FAFSA) four to six months before the first day of classes.

Here is an overview of the types of funding available:

Grants – Government Grants

A grant is funding that does not have to be repaid. Examples of grants are the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG), or Texas Public Education Grant (TPEG).

Scholarships

A scholarship is funding that is awarded for an accomplishment. There are community-based scholarships awarded from local groups or businesses and there are institutional scholarships awarded to students attending a specific institution. A list of institutional scholarships is normally provided by the financial aid office at the institution you are applying for. If not, ask the financial aid office.

Loans

A loan is funding that must be repaid. Student loans, unlike grants, are borrowed money that must be repaid, with interest, just like car loans or mortgages. Loans are a legal obligation. You cannot have these loans cancelled because you didn’t like the education you received, didn’t get a job in your field of study, or because you’re having financial difficulty.

What is expected of me as a participant in the Educational Opportunity Center?

You are expected to work collaboratively with your EOC advisor to clarify your educational goals. Plan to meet in person at least twice with your advisor.

During your first visit, you will fill out an application and meet for approximately 30 minutes to discuss your goals and timetable for going to college.

Bring a pencil and paper to your first visit along with a positive attitude and willingness to examine you goals. At the conclusion of this initial session, you will receive a list of tasks to complete prior to your next visit and items to bring to the follow-up appointment.

At your second visit, your advisor will help you complete and submit your admission and financial aid applications online. To this second session, bring:

  • Your recent tax return and W2 forms
  • Proof of Social Security benefits (copies of SSA 1099 or current print-out of previous year’s benefits)
  • If you receive public assistance, such as TANF, a print-out of previous year’s benefits
  • Written verification of any other income or benefits received in the previous year

Depending on you specific situation, you may want to have additional meetings. You and your advisor will decide whether they are necessary, and if so, schedule the appointment. You will be expected to arrive on time to your appointment. Call if you need to reschedule. If any of your personal information changes, update your advisor.

All information is confidential.

To continue, select the link that best describes your current situation:

- If you have a high school diploma or GED and never attended college, you are ready to get started. Just call the EOC office nearest your home or workplace and set an appointment today.

- If you do not have a high school diploma or GED, we can refer you to GED class locations that can help you get one. Just call our office and set an appointment today. If you are already enrolled in a GED class or studying on your own to take the test, give us a call when you have passed the test.

- If you have an associate’s degree, we can help you enroll in a four-year institution to earn your bachelor’s degree. Just call the EOC office nearest your home or workplace and set an appointment today.

- If you started college but never finished, we can help you to re-enroll. just call the EOC office nearest your home or workplace and set an appointment today.

- If you are in default on federal student loans, you can find more information about your options after default by visiting the Federal Student Aid website at www.studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/default.

- If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you are not eligible for EOC services because they are for first-time bachelor’s degree seekers. If you want to pursue a second bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or a professional degree (e.g., law or medicine), contact the Career Services or Alumni Office at the institution you attended, or visit the following links:

Free Application for Financial Student Aid
www.fafsa.ed.gov

Student Aid on the Web
www.studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/gradstudent.jsp

Gradview – A Guide to State-Funded Money For Graduate School
www.gradview.com/articles/financialaid/grad_school_state_funding.html

Grad School Tips
www.gradschooltips.com/index.htm

Return to College
www.backtocollege.com

For questions about EOC services call metro 817-531-2657.