Need help paying your tuition for next semester?

Financial aid information flyers. Photo by Monica Papworth

Updated, February 28, 2013.

The priority filing date for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is tomorrow, March 1.

With the economy where it is and many parents being laid off of work, how can students expect to pay for college? This is just one of the many questions that Western Carolina University’s Director of Financial Aid, Trina Orr, answered at the WCU FAFSA Day program that was held on Saturday, Feb. 23.

“The most important things that students and parents need to know are, how to apply for financial aid, and that March 1 is the priority filing date for FAFSA,” said Orr.

WCU Financial Aid staff members were available during the event to answer questions. Staff members also helped current students, high school students and their parents file their FAFSA form to apply for financial aid.Financial aid and scholarships can help alleviate some of the financial burden placed on students and families.

Financial aid is awarded on a need-based system and scholarships are often awarded on a merit-based system. Students are encouraged to apply for both.

Scholarships are also a great way to get money to pay for college, and unlike loans, scholarships do not need to be repaid. Students can search for scholarships through the WCU Financial Aid Office.

It is important that students file their FAFSA before or close to March, 1 to meet the priority deadline.

“After filing your FAFSA, I always suggest that if you haven’t heard anything within two weeks to follow up,” said Orr.

WCU provides many resources for students that need assistance or have questions. Students can contact OneStop, or the Financial Aid Office for assistance. There is a federal website and a North Carolina specific website that are dedicated to helping prospective and current students with financial and general college questions.