Free financial aid application assistance

February 20, 2009 2:56:22 PM PST
Officials say more people are defaulting on their student loans. At the same time, thousands of students are applying for a limited amount of loan money.

Holly Denner is getting to apply for financial aid for next year at NC State. A found her parents set up for her years ago will not be enough to cover her expenses through graduation.

"Of course it's gonna run out, in fact it runs out this year," Denner said. "I need money this year because my money's running out, but everyone else does too."

And students are needing money in record numbers, according to the College Foundation of North Carolina.

Filings of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid are up 29 percent over last year. The message to students and parents is apply now!

"There or will be a finite amount of need-based financial aid available in North Carolina, about $300 million, but it is pretty much on a first-come, first-served basis," Ben Kittner of the College Foundation told Eyewitness News.

As more and more people apply for loans during the recession, some people who have taken out loans and graduated are having trouble paying their loan back.

"We are seeing some people calling and asking for assistance and having trouble paying loans back, a little bit higher number than in the past, said Elizabeth McDuffie, State Education Assistance Authority. "[It's]not unexpected given the times."

Officials aren't sure how many people are falling behind on their loans, but the College Foundation says it has an extremely low default rate of 1.3 percent.

Arrangements are made with borrowers to try and make things work.

But, as for those students still hoping to borrow, like Denner, submit your paperwork early.

Saturday the College Foundation is offering free help to students and parents who need to fill out the FAFSA.

There will be 65 sites across the state, including several in the Triangle that are offering assistance.

Click here for more information about time, locations and registration for the event.


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