ARWICK, RI – On Monday, November 21, 2016 at 6:00 p.m., U.S. Senator Jack Reed will
hold a college financial aid workshop at Community College of Rhode Island’s (CCRI)
Knight Campus in Warwick. The free workshop will give college-bound high school
students and their parents an opportunity to learn first-hand from student aid
experts about how to access available financial aid for college.
«Planning ahead and doing your homework can set students up for success. This
financial aid workshop is designed to help students who need help paying for
college. There are financial aid opportunities out there, and I want to ensure
Rhode Islanders know all of their options when it comes to paying for college,» said
Senator Reed. «We as a nation also have to take steps to address college
affordability in a smart, comprehensive way. I have proposed legislation to lower
federal loan interest rates, help students refinance debt, increase grant aid, and
require more accountability from colleges and universities, and I will continue
working to pass these commonsense measures and increase need-based financial aid for
The informational workshop is a 90-minute seminar designed to help high school
students and their families get a better sense of the financial aid options
available at the federal and state levels, the eligibility criteria for these
different types of aid, and the application process. It is never too early for
students and their families to begin focusing on how to pay for college, and Reed is
encouraging current high school seniors to begin the process now so they can take
full advantage of all available resources.
Financial aid can help reduce student loan debt, but many families don’t even
realize they are eligible, and never apply. A January 2016 study by the website
found that Rhode Island students left nearly $6.8 million on the table in the
2014-2015 school year because they did not complete the financial aid application.
Rhode Island students were not alone – as much as $2.7 billion in grants were not
accessed by students nationwide, according to the report, including: $37.1 million
in Massachusetts, $20.4 million in Connecticut, $11.5 million in Maine, $6.3 million
in New Hampshire, and $5.5 million in Vermont.
During the workshop, financial aid and education experts will offer tips and discuss
the loan and grant application process, what to expect when applying for financial
aid, the process of paying back student loans, and tax benefits to assist with
college expenses. Panelists will include representatives from the Rhode Island
Student Loan Authority (RISLA), the College Planning Center of Rhode Island, the
Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner’s Division of Higher Education Assistance,
the Rhode Island Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and the Rhode
Island Society of Certified Public Accountants.
One of the topics at the forum will be a new federal rule change that moved the
deadline for filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to October
1, three months ahead of the traditional January date. The FAFSA is used to help
determine a family’s expected annual contribution to college expenses and
eligibility for need-based federal aid, such as Pell grants. It is also the form
Rhode Island residents complete to determine eligibility for the Rhode Island
Promise Scholarship, a program that is available to Rhode Island residents attending
colleges or universities in Rhode Island.
Senator Reed has encouraged Rhode Island students to submit their FAFSA forms early
so they can get a more complete picture of their eligibility for federal, state, and
school financial aid and their future college costs.