Tag Archives: financial aid

Why Go On A College Visit? Four Reasons

What’s so valuable about actually visiting Parkland College before you consider attending the school? Here are four good reasons:

  1. You can really visit the campus. Let’s be honest: the pictures you see in brochures are not always an accurate representation of what every part of a campus looks like.  Attending a campus visit allows you to see every part of campus, from the classrooms, to the cafeteria, to the library, and even parking.  You can see for yourself where students like to spend their time between classes, where the computer labs are located, or what clubs you can join.  You will learn so much more than you ever could from a college brochure.
  1. You can get your specific questions answered. What about this particular major?  What’s my financial aid status?  What tutoring opportunities are on campus for me?  Trust us, we have been asked some very interesting questions during campus visits!  Come armed with your list of questions, and we will make sure to answered them before you leave.
  1. You can talk with current students about their experiences. Learn what students like to get involved in, their favorite places to eat in the area, or what some of their favorite electives are.  Talking to Parkland College students is a great way to get honest feedback about the institution.
  1. You can see what campus is like on a regular day. Sure visiting the campus over the summer might be easier since you are on summer break, but the campus has considerably fewer students around then.  This might give you a false sense of what to expect campus life to be like.  Attending a campus visit day allows you to truly see how many students are on campus, how the parking can be, and even how long it might take you to get from one class to another.

Ready to come out for a Campus Visit Day?  RSVP here.

[Sarah Hartman is an admissions advisor for Parkland College.]

Top 6 Reasons to Activate Your SALT Account

new-salt-logo

Your free SALT account from Parkland College is waiting, and if you’re still skeptical about joining, here are six awesome reasons to get off the fence and start getting money-savvy.

  1.  It’s FREE – Like, really free. Parkland College hooked you up, so all you have to do is activate.
  2. It can find you free money – Want to tap into millions in scholarship money? Yeah, SALT can help with that.
  3. It builds your skills – Learn budgeting skills that will keep you in control of your cash for life.
  4. It can help you land a job – Get inside tips to grab an internship now and a job after graduation.
  5. It’ll tell you how to own your loans – Show your student loans who’s boss with easy tools to track and manage them.
  6. It’s FREE – Did we mention it’s totally free?

To activate your SALT account join now at:

What does “SALT” mean, anyway?
Back in the day (way, way back in the day), salt was the universal currency. It’s why SALT goes back to the basics to give you universal information, neutral advice, and smart strategies to help you take control of your money.

[Dawn Kamphaus is a financial aid advisor in Parkland’s Financial Aid and Veteran Services office.]

Open House: Time to Check Out Parkland College

So many exciting things are happening at Parkland this fall, we just have to have an Open House to show the place off!

Friday, October 28 is a perfect time to come and check out Parkland. From noon to 2 pm that day, there will be student services and academic members at tables in the Student Union atrium to explain their programs.

Plus, new this year, the Anatomage and new Earth Science Labs will be open to show what cutting edge tools look like. Anatomage is a digital dissection table that medical schools are beginning to use to train students. The touchscreen monitor provides three different individuals that students can explore in the 3D environment. Meanwhile, the Earth Science lab will feature an augmented reality sandbox (ARS), where students can learn how to read and interpret topographical maps in 3D.

From noon to 3 pm that same day, our Health Professions department is featuring all their programs, both in the L and H wings. The H wing on Mattis Avenue includes our Massage Therapy, Practical Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Paramedic, Medical Assisting, Certified Nursing, and Nursing programs. Back at the main campus, the L wing will best suit those students interested in Vet Tech, Dental Hygiene, Radiologic Tech, Surgical Technology, and Respiratory Care. It’s definitely possible to visit both locations in the same day if you are interested in more than one program.

The Open House is a low-stress way of exploring Parkland College, with tours every 20 minutes and plenty of people on hand to answer your questions. In addition, there will be breakout sessions for financial aid, the Parkland Pathway to Illinois, and the first-year experience at Parkland.

You can RSVP for the Open House at right here and let us know you’re coming!

[Mary Kay Smith is the student services advisor for Parkland’s  Admissions and Records office.]

Top 5 Things to Do at Campus Visit Day

Seniors, still undecided on where to attend?  Juniors, wanting to get a head start on your college planning?  Here are the top 5 things to do while attending Parkland’s Campus Visit Day on September 23 or October 10.

Top 5 Things to Do While Attending Parkland’s Campus Visit Day

  1. Speak to students who are currently attending Parkland. Get an idea of campus life, student clubs and organizations, and much more! Do your parents have questions about safety?  Do you wonder where the best place is to live or just where to get the best cup of coffee? Ask our students! You will really get the inside scoop from students who made the decision to attend this amazing campus. Get an idea of why Parkland was the best choice for them.
  1. Worried about the price of college? Find out how much it is going to cost you to attend Parkland as well as residency information and learn how to finance college through scholarships, grants, and loans.  This will save you from any surprises down the road!
  1. Tour campus! Campus tours generally give you much more info than you could see if you walked a campus on your own.  Not only will you see classrooms, cafeterias, bookstore, labs, art gallery, and much more, you also learn about services on campus for you to utilize and fun facts you may have never known!
  1. Meet one on one with an Admissions advisor to get all of your specific questions answered! We know that you and your parents have many questions, and we are here to answer them and make you feel as comfortable as possible.
  1. Apply to be a student! Get a step ahead of your peers and fill out an application while on campus. That way, if you have any questions while filling out the application, the pros will be right there to answer your questions! Visit our Application Station and complete an application onsite!

Ready to visit?  RSVP here: http://www2.parkland.edu/forms/admissionsRSVP/campusvisit.html.

[Sarah Hartman is an admissions advisor for Parkland College.]

Fall Means…FAFSA!

A change is in the air! It’s time for falling leaves, new school supplies, pumpkin spice lattes, and… FAFSA?

That’s right! The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is changing this year. Now you no longer have to wait until January 1 to complete next year’s application (sorry if I’ve ruined your New Year’s Day plans)! Starting October 1, you will be able to complete your FAFSA application for next school year (that’s fall 2017–spring 2018).

And not only can you now do the FAFSA sooner, but it should be easier to do as well.

In the past, the FAFSA has required information about your income from the previous tax year. For example, if you complete the FAFSA for the current school year (fall 2016–spring 2017) you would have needed your income and tax information from 2015. The new FAFSA will require tax information from two years prior. So when you fill out your 2017-2018 FAFSA (on October 1, of course) you will use your income and tax information from two years ago… as it happens, from 2015. The 2017-2018 FAFSA is the only FAFSA that will use the same income information as the prior year’s FAFSA.

Why is this so great? Because hopefully by now, especially if you have already done a 2016-2017 FAFSA, you already have all the 2015 income and tax information you need to complete the 2017-2018 FAFSA. In the past, the new FAFSA became available on January 1, but most applicants weren’t able to finalize the process until they completed their tax returns, generally at least a month or two later. So not only can you start the FAFSA earlier, but you will be much more likely to have all the information needed to complete it in much less time than previously.

Parkland’s Office of Financial Aid and Veteran Services would like to encourage all students to fill out the FAFSAs as early as possible. There are a number of great reasons to do so:

  1. Getting your paperwork done early means you’re in less of a rush to complete everything when school is starting and deadlines are looming. Save yourself the stress!
  2. Get a head start on finding out what you qualify for. When you complete a FAFSA, the application provides an estimate of what types and amounts of awards you may be eligible to receive. This can help you plan in advance how to afford college.
  3. Filling out a FAFSA early may qualify you for more financial aid funds. Some financial aid programs, such as Federal Work Study and the Illinois MAP grant, can only be awarded to a portion of the students who are eligible. The students who submit their FAFSAs to Parkland the earliest are more likely to receive these awards.

So take a break from enjoying the changing weather and the thrill of a new semester, and set a reminder to complete your FAFSA on (or as close as possible to) October 1.

Complete the FAFSA online here: https://fafsa.ed.gov/

Questions? Contact Parkland’s Office of Financial Aid and Veteran Services at 217/351-2222 or visit our webpage.
[Julia Hawthorne is an advisor with Financial Aid and Veteran Services at Parkland College.]

Campus Visit Day: Info, Tours, Free Swag, Oh My!

Seniors, still undecided on where to attend? Juniors, want to get a head start on your college planning? Here are our Top 10 reasons to attend Parkland’s Campus Visit Day on April 1.

Top 10 Reasons to Attend Parkland’s Campus Visit Day

1. Speak to students who are currently attending Parkland. Get an idea of campus life, student clubs and organizations, workload, and more.

2. Find out how to finance college through scholarships, grants, and loans. Seniors, fill out the FAFSA while you are here.

3. Tour campus! Get a better view of what Parkland College is all about through a general tour of campus. See our classrooms, cafeteria, bookstore, labs, art gallery, and more.

4. Interested in Parkland Pathway Program to Illinois? Come find out important dates, deadlines, and majors.

5. Interested in fixing cars or working on computers? Maybe helping patients is more your style? Learn about Parkland majors, including selective health professions programs.

6. Worried about the price of college? Find out how much it is going to cost you to attend Parkland as well as residency information.

7. Afraid of falling behind in class? We have you covered! Learn about support services on campus such as FREE tutoring, Writing Lab, and Presentation Lab.

8. Meet one-on-one with an Admissions advisor to get all of your specific questions answered!

9. Free swag! Come to visit day and get a free Parkland College water bottle and other goodies!

10. Apply to be a student. Visit our Application Station and complete an application on site!

Ready to visit? RSVP here.

 

[Sarah Hartman is an admissions advisor for Parkland College.]

Campus Visit Day: There’s Still Time to Sign Up!

Some high school students find that sitting down and speaking with a college admissions advisor well before College Day One makes them better prepared to navigate the college experience. Touring the college’s campus doesn’t hurt, either.

This Monday, Parkland College will hold sessions that allow area students to see if this community college is a good fit for them.

Our first spring Campus Visit Day of 2016 will include the aforementioned opportunities and more:

  • an overview of how to apply to Parkland, sign up for financial aid, and select among its many academic programs
  • opportunity to learn more about Parkland’s Health Professions and the Parkland Pathway to Illinois program
  • a guided tour of campus
  • ability to apply on the spot for the summer and fall 2016 semesters at our Application Station
  • opportunity to speak one-on-one with admissions counselors to answer other questions.

Campus Visit Day events will begin at 10 a.m. and again at 2 p.m.

Parkland schedules two Campus Visit Days each spring; the second will occur April 1.

You can still reserve a visit for Monday’s Campus Visit Day! Just go to www.parkland.edu/getStarted/visit or email admissions@parkland.edu. For more information, call Parkland College Admissions at 217/351-2509.

[Sarah Hartman is an admissions advisor for Parkland College.]

New Year, New FAFSA to Complete!

That’s right, the 2016-2017 FAFSA is now available! For those attending college during the 2016-2017 award year, be sure to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible.

Complete the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The application is quick and easy to complete. Make sure you complete the 2016- 2017 FAFSA and not the 2015-2016 form if you are applying for financial aid for next year (Fall 2016, Spring 2017, and Summer 2017).

Plus, check out this US Dept. of Education blog post to avoid common FAFSA mistakes before you file!

For more information about the financial aid process, please email our office at finaid@parkland.edu or visit the SALT website at www.saltmoney.org.  SALT also provides helpful information and resources for searching for scholarships to supplement your financial aid award.

What Is SALT?
SALT is a website created by American Student Assistance® (ASA), a nonprofit organization, to help Parkland College students like you become more financially savvy. This program rewards you for making smart money decisions, and we’re providing all of its services to you—including your membership—as a gift, free of charge. Create your SALT account at www.saltmoney.org/parklandcollege today!

**Top image from “7 Common FAFSA Mistakes” at http://blog.ed.gov/2014/01/7-common-fafsa-mistakes/**

[Dawn Good is a financial aid advisor in Parkland’s Financial Aid and Veteran Services office.]

Worried about losing your MAP Grant? Apply now for scholarships!

Have you heard? Your financial aid this spring may be less than you expect.

The Illinois Assistance Commission (ISAC), which administers the Monetary Award Program (MAP), has notified all Illinois colleges and universities that due to the uncertainty of the state budget, spring 2016 MAP awards will be delayed until the state budget is approved. This means that your spring 2016 MAP award will be changed to “estimated aid” at this time and will not be applied to any account balance you may incur while registering for spring classes. As a result, your financial aid refund may be less than anticipated.

If state budget does fund MAP awards and you are owed more in a refund, you will receive it after the state budget is approved. Should the state not include MAP awards in the budget, you will be responsible for any balance owed on your account.

The idea of having your financial aid reduced is a pretty stressful one. What can you do? One potential way to offset this possible reduction is to apply for scholarships. Even if you don’t receive the MAP award, applying for scholarships is always a great resource to help fund your education.

NOW is the time to apply for spring scholarships. The Parkland College Foundation is currently offering approximately 70 scholarships for the spring semester. November 15 is the deadline for a majority of these scholarships, but scholarships are posted throughout the academic year.  The funds are there … just waiting for the right student to apply.

Parkland students have access to the scholarship search feature in their student portal at my.parkland.edu. By logging in to the portal and selecting “Scholarship Search” under the Student Services tab, you will be directed to a listing of all scholarships that are currently available. By selecting “eligible scholarships” from the drop down menu, you will also find a list that is more customized based on available scholarship criteria. The search feature is an excellent resource to find scholarships funded by the Parkland College Foundation. In addition, any scholarship information provided by external organizations is posted as well.

Most scholarship applications require you to write an essay … don’t be intimidated! The Center for Academic Success at Parkland offers a Writing Lab in D120 that is open and available to all students. You can receive free help from English instructors with any writing project you might have. For more information you can visit D120 or log in to the student portal, my.parkland.edu.

There are also many reputable online resources for scholarships as well such as Fastweb (http://www.fastweb.com/), CollegeBoard (http://www.collegeboard.org/), and the Federal Student Aid Gateway (http://federalstudentaid.ed.gov/). Keep in mind, that most reputable scholarship organizations do not ask you to pay a fee to apply.

[Tim Wendt is Parkland’s director of enrollment services.]

Three Key Reasons to Take Online Courses at Parkland!

Parkland College has offered online/distance learning for a long time and, for many reasons, we are still one of the top schools in the state of Illinois for online instruction.
Reason #3 – Quality: Online courses at Parkland are taught by the same instructors who teach in our classrooms.  And many of them have undergone additional training to help them to become effective and efficient online instructors.  So, we can proudly say that we have quality instruction happening at Parkland College, regardless of the method of delivery.
Reason #2 – Transferability:  Our online courses meet all of the same criteria for our classroom courses and are, therefore, accredited and accepted at most transfer institutions.  As always, we defer to the transfer institution for how they will accept the credits to be applied to a baccalaureate degree, but our courses are fully compliant with the Illinois Articulation Initiative and undergo regular review for continued compliance to ensure the quality of our courses.
And Reason #1 (And probably the most important reason) – Affordability:  It’s been said that you can expect to pay the same for an online degree as you would for one at a “brick and mortar” institution.  And for in-district students at Parkland, that is true.  Our online course rates for in-district students is the same as for the classroom instruction.  So, that makes Parkland an easy choice for getting your degree in a timely fashion—no worrying about conflicting class schedules.  Just take the online version and work at times that are convenient for you.
But wait… it gets better!  Out-of-district and international students pay substantially more per credit hour for classroom instruction.  However, Parkland is able to offer the online courses at a much more affordable rate than the classroom version.  For out-of-district students, the cost is $192.50 per credit hour; for international students the rate is $282.50 per credit hour.  Even at these rates, Parkland is the smart choice compared to other online institutions.

Tuition1

 

Further good news with the affordability of online courses is that they are fully eligible for federal financial aid.
So, make your money go further this summer and take your courses from anywhere in the world.  Parkland College will go with you and ensure you are getting quality, transferable courses at the best possible price.
Get started by choosing the link on this page that best describes your situation.  If you have any questions, please contact admission@parkland.edu.  See you online!

Veterans: Quick Tips on Using Your Benefits

 

Fresh from military duty and looking to begin (or finish) your degree for a new career? You can find lots of help to do just that at Parkland College, through the Office of Financial Aid and Veterans Services.

Kristina Taylor, veterans coordinator in the financial aid office, has a few tips for you on how to make the most of the GI Bill and other veterans benefits you have earned. Just click on the image above to begin the video.

Parkland College thanks you for honorably serving our country.

File Your FAFSA NOW for a Happier New Year!


Parkland Students: It’s TIME to fill out the
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit it as soon as possible!  Waiting can keep you from getting the State of Illinois MAP Grant, Federal SEOG Grant, and/or Federal Work-Study that you might be eligible for—which run out earlier and earlier each year!

It is definitely worth your time to complete the FAFSA. Most students qualify for some form of aid, and even those who don’t qualify for grants still often borrow federal loans (but only after they’ve filled out the FAFSA!).

Need help filling out your FAFSA online (www.fafsa.gov)? Stop by the Office of Financial Aid and Veteran Services (Room U286) with your tax return copies, your FAFSA PIN (if you have one already), and any other required paperwork.

Also, visit our website for more information on financial aid deadlines at Parkland.

 

 

Team YOU: Making the Goal (Success)

portrait-17Hi, my name is Marietta Turner and I’m Dean of Students here at Parkland College.

I’ve served here six years as the advocate (supporter) for student rights and responsibilities, providing both a means for students’ voices and guidance for students’ conduct. I seek to help students if they can’t figure out who to see or what to do about a situation  on campus; I also help them reach their instructors if they’re out of class for an extended time. I’ve been working with students for more than 20 years because I like students, especially community college students. In fact, this is the third community college I’ve worked at in my career.

OK, enough about me. Let’s talk about you.

You want to be successful and complete your educational dream, right?  Everybody’s vision is different, so that could mean a certificate or degree that takes you right to your career, or transfer to a university to finish a bachelor’s degree. How about I give you some tips from time to time about how you CAN change your dream into an achievable goal?

Why change your dreams into a goal? Well, a dream is just that…it’s wishing and hoping for something that may or may not come true. When you set a goal, you plan observable actions towards an end result to be achieved within a more or less fixed time frame. So, let’s dream a big goal (say, a Super Bowl-sized one, because that’s what graduating is like).

OK, the first tip I want to give you is this: You are the boss of you, so take charge of your plan by seeing your advisor, registering for your classes and having your payment arrangements, Financial Aid, or Nelnetcompleted by the deadlines.  Remember, Parkland’s Spring 2015 semester registration is going on NOW.

Next, you become the coach for TEAM YOU. This means you need to develop a game plan to achieve your goals for completing all the necessary courses with good grades. This success takes you over the goal line, into the end zone, and you become a Parkland College graduate. (I’m a football fan so I do make those kinds of sports references.) You need action plans to help you, and we’re going to talk further and hear from successful students to help you plan your game-winning strategies.

Finishing high school early? Consider your options

In my last six years as director of Admissions and Records at Parkland College, I’ve noticed that more and more students are earning enough credits to graduate from high school a semester early.  In my opinion, there are some good reasons to stay in school for that final spring semester: Enjoy the end of your high school career. Go to prom. Continue to study for free.

But if your mind is made up, consider enrolling in a Parkland course or two for the spring semester. Even if you plan to study elsewhere the following fall, you can get a jump start on general education requirements at Parkland during spring 2015.

Instruction for spring semester begins January 12, but you need to be registered for class and have your books and tuition paid for before December 16. That means it would be smart to apply now for both admission to the college and for your federal financial aid. Have all of your spring enrollment business out of the way so you can enjoy the holidays.

If you wait until after the holidays, the last day to register for classes that start January 12 will be January 6, and the college doesn’t reopen from the holidays until January 5! So, although it may be possible to get registered in time, if you haven’t already covered assessment for math, English, and reading and completed orientation, that’s a headache you don’t need.

We also have a significant set of 13-week classes that start February 2. The last day to register and pay for those classes is January 27.

Call me or one of our admissions advisors at 217/351-2482 for assistance in getting started with the enrollment process. It’s not too early to do that if you’re thinking about enrolling for spring 2015, summer 2015, or even fall 2015. Questions? Please post them below.