A multifaceted effort to get more UH West Oʻahu students applying for financial aid will kick off in February with a series of workshops, application assistance sessions and other efforts to drive home the message that financial aid is for everyone.
The program, “Money Move$,” is designed to dash long-held beliefs that students whose parents work can’t qualify for financial aid while educating them about the types of aid available and application processes. Besides help with applications, incentives are being offered such as food for completing the forms, and a tuition waiver good for the Fall 2019 semester.
“Our goal is to make students aware that you at least have to apply,” said UH West Oʻahu Student Engagement Director Lokelani Kenolio, who, along with the Kealaikahiki Success Team, is spearheading the effort.
“Financial aid is for everyone.”
The campaign is designed to raise the number of students applying for financial aid at UH West Oʻahu. The goal of Money Move$ is to increase the number of UH West Oahu student FAFSA applications by 10 percent. Recently Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Judy Oliveira obtained a grant from the UH System to fund the Money Move$ program, which will continue in the fall with more financial literacy efforts.
Kenolio said the first step is to educate students about what is available while letting students know old notions about qualifying for aid have changed because of an easing of income restrictions that occurred during the Obama administration. Students who live with their grandparents and have no access to their parents’ financial information may also think they can’t qualify for financial aid when there are options, said Rebecca Carino, Noʻeau Center Learning and Success coordinator who is working on the Money Move$ effort..
Students also might not know the types of aid available, which include:
- Pell Grants and other grants. Students don’t have to repay this money.
- Scholarships. A number of different scholarships are available through the UH System Common Scholarships, foundations, community groups and private organizations. Students typically don’t repay scholarship money but may be required to perform community service.
- Loans. These consist of of Subsidized (interest charged after student graduates or leaves school) or Unsubsidized, which typically carry a 5 percent interest rate.
- Federal Work-Study programs.
- Student Employment.
The Money Move$’ multi-pronged effort includes five February workshops for students in-person that will also be broadcast online through Zoom video conferencing, Money Move$ Extravaganza sessions in late February, and recruiting of staff and faculty members as Financial Aid Coaches who can help walk students through the financial-aid process. Efforts are also being made to make presentations to high school students who have been accepted at UH West Oʻahu, during student transfer orientations in April, and through information handed out during E Ola Pono week.
The educational workshops will cover topics such as Types of Financial Aid and Getting Through the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Process. The extravaganza event will be spread over five days, Monday, Feb. 25, to Friday, March 1, and will promote filing of applications by providing assistance filling them out and provide free food to students bringing in completed applications. Students can also enter to win a Fall 2019 Semester tuition waiver.
The workshops are:
- Feb. 25: Where’s the Money? Types of Financial Aid, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Nāulu Center
- Feb. 26: Let’s get this Bread: Completing the FAFSA, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., C-208 and the CC Loft
- Feb. 27: Sell Yourself Writing a Strong Scholarship Essay, 11 a.m.-Noo, Nāulu Center
- Feb. 28: Find Your Advocates: Letters of Recommendation, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Nāulu Center
- March 1: Surviving the Audit: The Verification Process, 11 a.m.-Noon, No’eau Center
Staff and faculty are also being asked to lend a hand by becoming a Financial Aid Coach. Currently there are eight; training for the next cohort begins in early February. Those interested in becoming a coach are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.