Financial aid untangled

Graduation is fast approaching. While figuring out their next steps in life, many students are looking at college options and training opportunities. One of the biggest questions students ask is, “Can I afford it?” At Marshalltown Community College, we make sure that the answer is always “yes.”

It’s no secret — figuring out financial aid can be overwhelming. There are financial aid options you can explore to untangle the process of paying for school. We have specialists here to help every student navigate the process. If a student has the desire to attend school, we work hard to make it affordable.

Your First Step

The first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). Completing the FAFSA will determine how much a family is able to afford, and open doors to financial aid opportunities. When completing, students should send their information to every schools they are considering. The FAFSA will help in determining which forms of financial aid they are eligible for. Be sure to compare all options for aid, including grants, loans and work study opportunities.

Understanding Loans

There are several different types of loans, including subsidized and unsubsidized loans, available through the college or personal financial institution. Students should review the details of the loan carefully, including the loan and repayment terms.

Many students make the mistake of borrowing more than they need. Students should really only borrow what they need in order to keep their repayments manageable. Before taking out a loan, check a Loan Repayment Calculator – it can be a helpful tool in determining how much the student will actually repay, factoring in current interest rates and loan terms. Tools like this can help students truly understand their actual financial liability.

A Note About Scholarships

Scholarships are free money for school and do not need to be repaid. No matter their financial need, students should apply for scholarships to help reduce their financial burden. Scholarships are available in all forms, including academic, athletic, and need-based scholarships. There are also opportunities available through church and civic organizations, and many others. Begin the search early, and apply for all scholarships that apply. Every dollar counts!

Here to Help

Paying for school doesn’t have to break the bank. You have questions, we have answers and are here to help. Contact the Financial Aid office at Marshalltown Community College with any questions. We’re here to make college affordable and can help in almost every situation.


Rachael Koehler is the financial aid administrator

at Marshalltown Community College.


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