Students and parents applying for financial aid often find the journey tedious, difficult and expensive. But if it becomes any of the above, you may be going about it the wrong way.
Chelsea Bell and Demarcus Russeau have found an easier path. The John Tyler seniors take advantage of a local program called The Mayor's Cool Program, sponsored by TISD and Fourth Partner Foundation. Mayor's Cool puts college advisors in Tyler public schools to advise students through the entire college and financial aid process.
"It's really hard when I'm the oldest child and my mother is a single parent," says Bell. "She's trying to send me off to college."
Demarcus Russeau, an aspiring teacher aiming for Texas Southern University, can relate.
"Since I live with my grandparents, and they're on a fixed income, we're really worried about the financial aid thing."
Mayors Cool Advisor Terri Daniels says the program keeps kids from falling into traps, like buying costly financial aid books.
"For the most part, we tell them not to purchase those books, because we have them here and it's just a repeat of the same information," says Daniels. She also advises students to stay away from businesses that offer advice at a cost.
"Anyone guaranteeing you money for school without actually getting to know what you do in school, what your involved in, what your interests are, they usually can't find money that's tailored toward you."
Financial aid advisors at Tyler Junior College offered parents and students a free financial aid workshop Thursday night.
If you'd like to attend future workshops, they are scheduled on Feb... 24, March 25 and April 24. The workshop will be inside the Apache Rooms at TJC. For more information, you can call TJC's financial aid office.