Students realize FAFSA doesn’t last forever

Wdeans
Part-time student studying for test in the Palo Alto College Ozuna Library. Photo by William Deans.

By William Deans
Pulse Staff Reporter

High School students first two difficult decisions are choosing whether to go to college and then whether to go full-time or part-time.

According to the Palo Alto Fact Book, more students chose to go to school part-time than full-time.

In 2016 to 2017 school year, 80.8 percent of Palo Alto students chose part-time enrollment and 19.2 percent decided to enroll full-time. Full-time students are more likely to enroll in the next semester’s classes.

The Palo Alto Fact Book shows that 43.1 percent of part-time students in 2017 enrolled at Palo Alto College the following semester. The percent for the number of full-time students who return each semester is higher at 67.2 percent.

Many students at Palo Alto said they wanted to get their degree as soon as possible on a schedule that fits them so that they can work and help pay for other necessities.

To finish an associate’s degree in two years to transfer to a 4-year university, a student must take 15 credit hours in both the fall and spring semesters.

Many students do not know this and only take 12 hours. In order to finish in two years, students must take 12 hours each long semester and 6 hours in the summer to complete their associate’s degree in two years.

Alex Longoria, who is a full-time student who has two more classes to complete to get his associate’s degree in Engineering, said, “The reason I chose to go to the Alamo Colleges was to finish fast, but also go to work since I moved to San Antonio from Eagle Pass.”

Many other students have done the same thing. Being a full-time student has its benefits, like financial aid, which covers up to six years of school.

Students should be aware that FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) will expire if it is not used in the 6-year period, so students must focus. Students should be aware that if they fall behind and repeat multiple courses, they could have their FAFSA suspended.

“If you’re any student, full-time or part-time, even online or in-class, take advantage of FAFSA,” said Mark Sanchez, who is finishing his second year at Palo Alto in Computer Science.

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