If you’ve decided to study at a community college, you’ve already made a smart financial choice. Whether you’re focusing on career education or planning to transfer, you can save big time and drastically reduce your student debt. And if you didn’t get the memo, community colleges are prestigious too.
When people think of San José City College, they think of affordability because we are committed to creating higher education pathways for students of every economic background.
Financial insecurities around education can be daunting, but the experienced and empathetic staff in the Financial Aid Office at San José City College are there to help. They assist students in removing financial barriers so they can unleash their brilliance. Today we’ll learn some of the basic steps you can take to make sure you optimize your financial aid and get the support you need.
Community College is Affordable, but it isn’t Free
While some students will certainly qualify for free tuition (looking at you First-Time Full-Time students), for most, student aid is a bit more complicated.
It will be different for everyone, but the bottom line is — a college education is extremely valuable, so it will most likely come with a price tag.
Takeo Kubo, Director of Financial Aid at SJCC spoke about the importance of student aid at community colleges. “The cost of tuition is far lower than any other segment of education, but the remaining costs (books and supplies and the cost of living) are every bit as high as those other segments,” Kubo said. “In addition, community college students have similar needs (financially) and academic goals as those who are attending other college and university systems.”
Now, this isn’t meant to discourage anyone. On the contrary, SJCC financial aid just wants to make sure that everyone maximizes their savings potential.
“It’s my mission to help make SJCC and college in general, accessible, and affordable to all who wish to attend,” Kubo said. That means leaving no stone unturned.
Don’t Miss Out on Financial Aid Opportunities
The very first step to receiving financial aid is filling out The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Financial Aid staff encourage all students to do this, even if they’re not sure that they’ll qualify.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll learn what type of student aid you can receive. This can come in the form of grants, fee waivers, scholarships, federal student loans, and even VA benefits (or a combination of all of these things). It’s important to note that the financial aid you qualify for often changes from year to year.
With so many options, it can be overwhelming to navigate your financial aid. That’s where the Financial Aid Office comes in. “One of our priorities is to find as much free funding for our students as possible,” said Kubo.
To start, the Financial Aid Office can help you fill out the following applications.
- The FAFSA Application
- The California Dream Act Application
- The California College Promise Grant
It’s our committed staff and their no stone left unturned approach that empower so many SJCC students to achieve their goals without being bogged down by student debt.
Financial Aid Opportunities You May Not Know About
SJCC’s Financial Aid Office collaborates with faculty and staff in many departments to facilitate financial aid opportunities. They also work with other support programs like Advocacy Leadership for imMigrant Access Support Services (ALMASS) and the Veterans Resource Center (VRC).
“We at SJCC are honored to serve and help our Veteran students in achieving their goals in higher education,” said Sophia Partida, one of SJCC’s Financial Aid Specialists and the VA Benefits Certifying Official.
From help with your FAFSA application to interpreting your financial aid award letter, no request is too large or too small. The Financial Aid Office even offers Financial Aid TV (available in both English and Spanish).
“We try to exercise empathy and any flexibility we have in our funding to help alleviate those students’ financial burdens to the extent possible,” Kubo said.
One underrated form of financial aid is Federal Work Study, which allows students who qualify for financial aid to work on campus part-time. This is a particularly appealing way to reduce your education costs because you can also get experience in your field of choice. You can work in the Theatre Arts Program as a Light Board Operator, in the Journalism Department, or even in the library.
“This opportunity gives valuable real-world experience to students who are employed at various jobs across campus,” said SJCC Financial Aid Coordinator, Luis Vargas.
A Focus on Empathy and Financial Literacy
It takes vulnerability to ask for help, but everyone has the right to a college education, and you can rest easy when you seek assistance in the Financial Aid Office. Above all, their goal is to help each student navigate their own unique financial needs and financial aid.
“We do focus our efforts and funds with an equity minded lens,” Kubo said. “We understand that students will have different needs based on both traits as well as situations and circumstances they are dealing with outside of their college life.”
“Once we have established the student’s eligibility our goal is to educate through financial literacy and guidance,” said Vargas. The Financial Aid Office’s philosophy is rooted in empathy and empowerment through financial literacy so that students can enjoy financial success and stability in the long run.
Visit SJCC’s Financial Aid Today
SJCC’s Financial Aid Office can be reached in a number of ways (including by Zoom and phone). So don’t miss out on the grants, scholarships, and financial aid you deserve.