SHERIDAN — All Sheridan County parents and high school students are invited to a Financial Aid Night on Thursday, Jan. 23, to learn about financing the cost of post-secondary education. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Sheridan High School auditorium.
The event, hosted annually by Sheridan County School District 2 but open to anyone, will feature several speakers who will provide information on a range of financial aid options, such as loans, grants, local, regional and national scholarships, the Hathaway Scholarship, work study programs and more.
“We’re trying to educate the public because the cost of post-secondary education has become cost prohibitive in America,” said Ed Fessler, dean of students and post-secondary strategic planner at Sheridan High School. “It is a wonderful opportunity for folks. For a lot of parents, this is their first time through this. It is an unknown process for many people and we try to shed light on the process and take the mystery out of it.”
Speakers will include Jennifer Destafano, who will discuss Whitney Benefits and no-interest student loans made available through the organization; Terrie Sanne, financial aid director at Sheridan College; Katrina Hughes, Neer Peer WYCAC College Advisor at Sheridan High School; and Katherine Hecker, TriO Coordinator with Educational Opportunity Center, which helps first generation college-bound students.
Fessler said although students in this year’s senior class are in immediate need of the information, he encouraged students and parents of any high school student to attend and begin learning the different procedures for securing financial aid.
“It is never too early to start,” he said. “The earlier they get started, the easier it is and the more successful you’ll be. The information presented will be useful for the parent and student, no matter which post-secondary institution they will be headed to.”
Fessler said additional classes will be held in February specifically regarding navigating the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA.
“If it is filled out wrong, parents and students can exclude themselves from some legitimate money,” he said. “You’ve got to put forth an effort. It is not a difficult process, but it is a process that takes time and effort. But the rewards can be significant. Millions of dollars go unclaimed that could be utilized for college education.”
Fessler stressed that parents or students investigating FAFSA should access information only through the official site at www.fafsa.ed.gov rather than for-profit websites.
Parents or students who are unable to attend the meeting may contact Fessler’s office directly for questions and information at 672-2495 ext. 2108. Interested individuals can also sign up for a bi-monthly newsletter from Fessler’s office regarding various financial aid topics.