Money is available to help you go to college

Money is available to help you go to college

photo of LCCC advisor talking to female student in office. They are looking at information on a printed page with computer screens in the background.

Are you interested in pursuing a higher education but worried about how you’ll pay for it? Well, there are a lot of opportunities out there for people who want to go to college where a little effort can go a long way. 

It’s normal for college prospects to feel unsure of how to get financial aid and scholarships, or to think the process of applying seems daunting. However, resources to help you on your way are ready for you to seize. 

It all starts by filling out your FASFA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is the application for all federal financial aid programs. It also applies to some state programs you might be interested in, as well as scholarships and grants at your institution of choice. There’s no time frame on when you must fill out your FASFA, but the sooner you can do it, the better. 

Applying to your institution of choice is also an important step that should be taken at this early stage so that your institution can receive your FASFA information.

Prospective students are occasionally required to provide certain documents when completing the FASFA, usually from your tax return, so have those things handy when working on your application. 

Wyoming’s traditional prospective students, meaning those going straight from high school to college, will find the Hathaway Scholarship provides great opportunities for financial assistance.  Created and funded by the state of Wyoming, Hathaway is merit- and needs-based. That means you can qualify for money based on your level of academic achievement or on your financial situation. Those who apply may be able to receive up to $1,680 per semester if you meet certain eligibility requirements. If you’re in the military or have some other reason for not going to college straight out of high school, don’t worry — you can apply for Hathaway up to four years after completing high school. Home-schooled and GED students can also apply for Hathaway. You will need your high school transcript and ACT scores to apply. 

Prospective students from Wyoming who are not eligible for Hathaway can instead apply for the Wyoming Works Grant. This program is targeted toward adults in specific academic programs who want to advance their skills in areas that lead to employment opportunities. Wyoming students who qualify can receive this needs-based grant for up to $3,360 for the academic year.

In addition to federal financial aid and state aid programs like Hathaway and Wyoming Works, there are also other financial aid opportunities specific to Laramie County Community College students. In the past academic year, degree-seeking LCCC students received more than $15 million in financial aid assistance between federal, state and institutional aid. 

The Presidential and Dean’s Scholarship are LCCC’s main recruitment scholarships, targeting graduating high school seniors. Those who earned a 3.5 GPA or higher at the end of their junior year can qualify for $1,600 per academic year and a 3.0 GPA can net you $800 per year. 

More than 400 scholarships are also available through the LCCC Foundation Donor Scholarship Application. Timing is critical here; students are encouraged to complete the application between Jan. 1 and April 1 each year for the following year. Filing by the April 1 priority date allows for full consideration. Make haste! Students can apply after April 1 and are encouraged to do so.

Different programs also have respective scholarship opportunities. If you are, for example, interested in STEM — or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — you should make sure to explore scholarships specifically for that program, which you can do through the LCCC Foundation Donor Scholarship Application. 

For costs that are not covered by scholarships and grants, prospects can qualify for student loans by filling out their FASFA. The relatively low cost at LCCC means that even if you do take out loans, you can graduate with significantly less debt than you would going to a larger institution. 

Look, many people feel this process is daunting, but that’s OK! You’re not alone.

“We have a lot of similar questions all the time for people trying to figure this out,” said Alli McCown, LCCC Enrollment Services assistant director. “[Prospective students] just get overwhelmed and inundated with everything. But they should advocate for themselves and fight for this understanding of their financial picture when they’re going to college.” 

The first place to go is LCCC Financial Aid. This page outlines all the basic information and has links for the applications you need to fill out. If you’re still feeling lost, there’s a whole library of videos that explain financial aid at Financial Aid Help Videos. You can chat with LCCC’s Student Hub about financial aid questions. And if you want in-person help, LCCC staff are happy to assist you at the Clay Pathfinder Building at the Cheyenne campus. 

There are more opportunities for help with paying for college than you may realize, and LCCC has people ready to help you make the most of your desire to find your path to success.