College affordability session helps students understand college costs


Photo credit: Ally Evancho

Brittany Mayer, Assistant News Editor

Financial aid is a process most college kids will have to deal with in their college career; that is why RMU held a College Affordability Session.

The session was held on March 31 in the Charles L. Sewall Center for students worried about the debt college can cause and how they could possibly pay it back. Victoria Fleisner, assistant director of undergraduate admissions, and Jacquelyn Fraas, associate director of financial aid, gave the presentation.

“It is never too late to start making smarter choices,” said Fleisner, “and thinking about your aid and debt amounts.”

The College Affordability Academy is a tool used to train financial aid staff on how to help students with debt and to educate parents and students. There is a web series on the RMU Financial Aid page that gives a demonstration of what to do in college to avoid being overwhelmed by debt.

“I want you guys (students) to think of college as an investment,” said Fraas. “You’re investing in yourself and you’re investing in your ability to kind of increase your earnings over your lifetime. So, it’s expensive, but as long as you’re making good decisions while you’re here — while you’re in college — it’s generally going to pay off for you.”

Although it is never too late to start looking at options for college affordability, it is better to start as early as possible. The web series outlined the main points of the presentation. Try to get as many scholarships as possible, maybe look at an on-campus job, and work hard in school to decrease the amount of debt to pay later in life. Also, students should not forget to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, which is federal student aid from the Office of the U.S. Department of Education.

“I tell students to try and apply for as many scholarships as possible to keep the amount they borrow down,” said Fleisner. “Many students get lazy and don’t want to take the time to fill out an application or write an essay; however, this could save you so much money if you win the scholarships.”

A financial aid counselor is given to every student when they start at RMU, but the decision to visit is the student’s to make. It is recommended that students visit their counselor at least once a year to see where they stand. It is also open to students who have already graduated.

“The financial aid office is always open and willing to help our alumni,” said Fleisner.

For more information, go to the RMU website. To fill out the FAFSA form, visit their website.