ETX mother, son going through college financial aid process together
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
A group of Tyler Junior College students gathered for a seminar on student loans on Monday night, including many who already have loans in their name.
The seminar is to help these students understand their loans, and to alert them to the questions they need to ask before signing on the dotted line for more loans.
But before the room filled with college students, KLTV 7 met with a high school senior and his mom. They had a very specific reason they weren't staying for the meeting.
"I want him to not have to take out student loans," said Tanya Dixon.
Tanya's son Jaderryous, or JD as he's known to his friends, is a senior at Chapel Hill ISD, and is in the middle of applying for as many scholarships as he can. Thanks to his mom, he's been thinking about the process for a while.
"My junior year, all I heard was scholarships, scholarships, scholarships, and grades, and GPA's..." JD said.
Eventually, all that scholarship talk led him to one form, the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It's the first step for any student who hopes to get money to pay for college.
"It wasn't difficult at all, as long as you follow the instructions that come along with it, and stay in touch with the counselors. It's not going to be difficult at all," JD said.
But JD has an advantage most other financial aid-seekers don't. His mom is working on her bachelor's degree right now, so she's filling out the same forms that he is.
"The words alone scare you," Dixon said. "FAFSA...most people don't even know what it is. You just follow the steps, and there's also questions, if you're doing it online, you can click the little box to ask questions."
And thanks to months of encouragement, Dixon said that JD is ready to run circles around her.
Having a handle on financial aid means JD can start giving real thought to what he wants to do: architectural engineering.
The way he sees it, he'll always have job security.
"I feel like everyone's going to need a house," J-D said. "So I want to be that man that they come to. I want to be able to provide that."
Right now, nearly a third of the students at TJC receives a student loan to pay for their education, and nearly half of the student body receives some sort of grant.