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Now is the time to plan for how you'll pay for college in 2014

HAZARD, Ky (WYMT) - With Christmas just around the corner, many students are finishing up finals before heading home for the holiday. But at Hazard Community and Technical College, staff in the financial aid office remind folks that it is almost time to start thinking about next school year.

Financial Aid Director Chuck Anderson admits his office is quiet now but said he knows it will not be for long. Soon students will swarm his department, looking for advice on how to pay for school. He said the best thing you can do is stay on top of important deadlines.

"The earlier you apply the better," said Anderson.

Starting January first, students can apply for financial aid for the 2014-2015 academic year.

"That is processed on a first-come-first-serve basis and it is the state funding that we worry about running out," said Anderson.

That funding includes things like the Kentucky College Access Program grant, or CAP. Anderson said if you apply in time and qualify, students can receive almost $2,000 a year from the state.

Financial aid professionals tell WYMT that you can use the arrival of winter as a sign it is time to start thinking about next year's financial aid. However, student Sonya Fields said it is not always easy to figure out how to apply and when.

"As a new student, you are really kind of unfamiliar with everything and how everything works, and I am still learning," said Fields.

She added that without the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA she might not be at HCTC.

"I could not afford college any other way, you know, other than financial aid," said Fields.

Anderson said to apply for aid even if you think you do not qualify because the truth is, you will.

"Anybody that fills out the financial aid form can get some type of assistance,"said Anderson.

He added a student or parent should never pay when filling out the FAFSA. You can do so at fafsa.ed.gov.


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