Cuts devastate student aid

College warns of more cuts to come in 2011.

BY LUC GROSS
BYLINE STAFF

Every year, thousands of students  of Rogue Community College apply and receive financial aid — but an announcement from the Oregon Student Assistance Commission (OSAC) will cost many undergrads hundreds of dollars in college funding for the 2010-11 school year.

Sharp reductions in the Oregon Opportunity Grant (OOG) have forced a decrease in financial aid funds available to Oregon students, including here at RCC.  In mid-March, OSAC announced that due to state funding restrictions for the 2010-11 OOG program, a filing deadline has been set for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The new deadline is January 21, 2010. For applicants to have access to these grant funds, they must have completed  their FAFSA before Jan. 21, 2010.

In a recent press release, RCC officials apologized for the retroactive change in the FAFSA deadline — which leaves hundreds of students expecting aid in the lurch.

“RCC wants our students to know that this is a state-wide issue.” said Anna Manley, RCC’s Director of Financial.  “We deeply regret the impact this will have on so many students.” The Federal Pell Grant, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG), and Federal Student Loans were not affected by these reductions.

“They added $9 million in February, but it didn’t stop the cuts,” said Matt Vorderstrasse, Student Body President of Riverside. Vorderstrasse was recently interviewed for a position on the OSAC council. There are two open seats and four applicants, but Vorderstrasse is optomistic about his chances.

There is already a foundation in place to help students find grants and scholarships to pay for college. The financial aid department of RCC provides information on other sources of financial aid including:

o Institutional Scholarships – the RCC Foundation Awards more than $500,000 annually through a single application online at http://www.RCCfoundation.org.
The cutoff date for this scholarship was March 1, 2010, but limited scholarship opportunities may be available after this date.

o State Scholarships – OSAC has one common application (eApp) for more than 400 scholarship opportunities.  While the deadline for most of the scholarships was also on March 1, 2010, there is still time to apply for the Chafee Grant and Child Care Grant. Apply online at http://www.getcollegefunds.org.

o Third-Party Scholarships – Information is available at http://www.roguecc.edu/FinancialAid/Scholarships.asp, or other sires such as fastweb.org, collegenet.com, collegeboard.com, or petersons.com. There is also a vast array of options for Veterans, dependants of Veterans/Fallen Soldiers, and National Guard/Selected Reserves members, as well as alternative sources of educational funding from The Job Council, Employment Department, Vocational Rehabilitation and Veteran’s Administration.  All of these agencies provide education funding to qualified individuals.
If you are a veteran, qualify as low income and first generation student (your parents did not obtain a 4-year college degree), are low-income only, are first generation only and a U.S. citizen or a qualified permanent resident, you may qualify for TRiO services which provides FREE educational, career, financial aid and scholarship application assistance.  More information available at http://www.roguecc.edu/TRiOEOC/

Simply contact these organizations for more information, or speak with the friendly staff of RCC’s Financial Aid Department(s).

Rogue Central Services for Students

Questions or comments regarding financial aid: RCS@roguecc.edu

Grants Pass
Josephine County
Student Services Building
tel (541) 956-7501

Medford

Jackson County
Building G, Corner of 8th and Central
tel (541) 245-7501

White City
Jackson County
Room 187, West Entrance
tel (541) 245-7501

The college encourages students to contact OSAC, at 1-800-452-8807, as well as their state legislative representative, at either 1-800-332-2313 or the local numbers below, to obtain more information on these reductions, and describe the impact these reductions will have on their education.

Representative George Gilman
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1455
District Phone: 541-858-1747
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE., H-493, Salem, OR, 97301
District Office Address: 3695 Dodson Drive, Medford, OR, 97504
Email: rep.georgegilman@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/gilman

Representative Ron Maurer

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1403
District Phone: 541-660-4085
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-372, Salem, OR, 97301
District Office Address: PO Box 2061, Grants Pass, OR, 97528
Email: rep.ronmaurer@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/maurer

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