Transfer Workshop helps transfer students

Roya Mohammad, Staff Writer

The pressure of transferring in the midst of a pandemic can be stressful. However Rachel Anicetti, director of Transfer and Career Services, tried to ease that stress Tuesday, May 12, when she hosted an online transfer workshop to inform Los Medanos College students about financial aid opportunities. 

Ancietti focused on the types of financial aid available, the amounts offered, and the effect of COVID-19 on the financial aid landscape. 

Financial aid has two parts, she explained: gift aids and self-help aids. According to Ancietti, gift aids is free money given to a student, and self-help aid is the borrowed money loaned to a student. 

In a gift aid, there are merit-based scholarships and need-based grants. For a merit-based scholarship, a student receives money by earning it in academics, arts, athletic talent, community service, and leadership. In a need-based grant, it is solely based on the family’s income. 

Colleges may use California State Aid for gift aids such as Cal Grant (university grants), Chafee Foster Youth Grant, Middle Class Scholarship, and California Promise Grant. 

In addition, colleges may use federal aid for gift aids such as Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, work studies, and loans. 

Because of the information provided at this event, LMC student Jonathan Trejo said his confusion about CalGrants (university grants) was resolved. Before this event, Trejo said he  believed CalGrants and university grants were different. 

Furthermore, in a self-help aid, there are work-study options as well as loans. Works-study involves students working for the college, either on or off campus, to receive funding. Loans are safety nets in addition to financial aid, but Anicetti said students are not required to take out a loan.  

In addition, Ancietti explained the three different kinds of loans that the federal government offers: direct subsidized loans, direct unsubsidized loans, and direct plus loans, and said direct subsidized loans are the best option. In this type of financial aid, students can take out a loan with an interest of 4.53 percent but are not charged interest while still enrolled in college. 

Anceitti also pointed out that the second best option is a direct unsubsidized loan. In this situation, students can take out a loan with interest of 4.53 percent as an undergraduate student, and an interest of 6.08 percent for graduate and professional degree students while a student is enrolled in college and after graduating.

In a direct plus loan, she explained, parents are borrowing money from the government to pay off the loan, and that carried the highest interest rate of 7.08 percent.

Even though much of the information on loans presented at the workshop is on the Federal Student Aid website, students attending preferred obtaining the information from Anceitti. 

LMC student Sarah Khong said she appreciated how Anicetti “filtered the information for us” because the information online is often “worded in ways that made it harder to understand.”

“I liked that Rachel explained it in her own words and that is just a lot easier to understand,” she added. “Also I like her graphics, they are helpful as well.”

Ancietti also explained how financial aid is calculated, and used a formula showing how much it costs to be a college student — personal expenses, supplies, room and board, transportation, books, fees, and tuition. The formula then subtracts family contributions that include parent’s income, student’s income, or spouse’s income, and that provides the amount of financial aid needed.

COVID-19 is impacting financial aid for the upcoming school year, but Ancietti said the amount of aid a student may receive is not chanhng. What is changing, she explained, may be the income that figures into the financial aid formula, since job loss has been common during the pandemic. 

“In my situation, COVID-19 caused me to lose my job because the place I worked at was closed because it was not an essential business,” said Khong. “As a transfer student, I needed to know about the different types of financial aid I was offered. Rachel discussed all the types of financial aid that I received and it helped me understand how long each can be used.”

If a job loss occurs, Ancietti recommends contacting the college you will be enrolled in the upcoming year and file a financial aid appeal/change of income form.