Additional scholarship assistance is now available for Gaston College students this fall, thanks to funding from the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) and the North Carolina Education Lottery.
Some 30,000 North Carolina Lottery Scholarships will be available to assist students at Gaston and other community colleges around the state. The awards will range from $100 to $2,500 per student for the 2007/08 academic year. The total amount of state financial support a student can receive is tied to the amount of federal Pell Grant assistance they get. With the addition of Lottery funds, the maximum state assistance for community college students has risen to $3,200. Eligibility for the award is based on the same criteria as the Federal Pell grant.
Students who file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form are automatically considered for the NC Lottery Scholarship. The FAFSA is available at all three Gaston College campuses but the quickest way to file is on the Internet at www.fafsa.ed.gov Students should use Gaston Collegeâ€™s code #002973 in order for the College to be notified of award amounts.
The announcement of the NC Lottery Scholarship comes at a time when Gaston College joins other colleges and universities in North Carolina by ending student loan programs. The College no longer processes or certifies student loans but students can still apply for their own alternative/private student loan to fund their education.
â€œBy not participating in student loans, we are able to control our default rate and not put other financial aid programs at risk since we have no control or leverage if a student chooses not to pay back a loan and therefore affect our credit ratingâ€, said Peggy Oates, Gaston Collegeâ€™s Director of Financial Aid and Veteransâ€™ Affairs. â€œThe College provides $5.5 million in grants and scholarships for our students each year and we do not want to jeopardize these funds by maintaining a loan program that serves only 100 students or 1.5% of the 7,500 students who may need financial assistance.â€
Gaston College does not endorse the use of any particular alternative loan program, but is encouraging its students to thoroughly review the programs available and to select the program that best meets their personal needs. There are many sources of alternative or private loans to help provide funding to students. The Financial Aid office is referring students to a list of private student lenders at:
http://www.finaid.org/loans/privatestudentloans.phtml as well as suggesting that they do a general search on the web for alternative or private student loans or contact their personal bank or credit union for further options.
For more information about the NC Lottery Scholarship or other grants and scholarships, contact Gaston Collegeâ€™s financial aid program at (704) 922-6227.