Resources for easing the financial burden of college

Caitlyn Nichols

Paying for college is a concern for all students, but there are many resources available at Weber State University to ease the burden.

The Financial Aid & Scholarships office is the first stop for receiving financial help for school. The Financial Aid website includes instructions and help for applying for scholarships and completing the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

There are also instructions and links for completing the WSU Specialized Scholarship Application, the completion of which allows the student to apply federal funding from FAFSA to their college account and potentially receive additional private donor scholarships.

FAFSA and the Specialized Scholarship Application should be completed as soon as possible during the spring before the application school year.

The Financial Aid website also provides information about the different types of aid offered at WSU and who qualifies for it, listed in categories such as tuition assistance, federal financial aid, Utah residents, nonresidents, international students, current students and outside funding.

Photo credit: Alexander Stuart

The Money Management Center at WSU is also available to help students complete the FAFSA. In addition to FAFSA help, the center provides free financial coaching to help students manage credit and debt, create budgets, build savings and more.

The Money Management Center website also provides links to other sources for easing financial burden, such as food assistance, applying for unemployment and COVID-19 stimulus relief.

The Nontraditional Student Center also provides help and resources geared toward nontraditional students.

Students are considered nontraditional when they are over the age of 25, have a spouse or committed partner, are divorced or widowed and/or are a parent. According to the Nontraditional Student Center’s website, 56% of students at WSU are considered nontraditional.

The NSC can help nontraditional students apply for specific scholarships they qualify for, a list of which can be found on the center’s website. Applicants just have to list the scholarships they qualify for in the “Department Scholarships” section of their Specialized Scholarship Application.

The NSC also has advisers and peer mentors to provide nontraditional students with academic help and guidance in navigating the college experience.

Located on the third floor of the Shepherd Union building, the NSC facilities include a kitchen, snack shack, free coffee and hot chocolate, computer lab, study area and lockers, all available for nontraditional students to use. WSU Davis also has a kitchen and study area.

The NSC also provides hourly child care for a lower rate in a state-licensed facility on the Ogden campus for current WSU students. Children ages two through nine are eligible. Information about the service and instructions for applying are found on the center’s website.

Brandi Hernandez, administrative specialist at the Nontraditional Student Center, said the child care center has not reached full capacity this year and recommends that all who could use the assistance apply.

The NSC can also connect students with United Way of Northern Utah, which provides assistance and resources for housing and utility bills, food, transportation, legal issues, mental health and addiction, medical care, employment, education, domestic violence and abuse, wintertime services and more.

Jared Tenney, peer adviser at the Nontraditional Student Center, said the center is looking to hire more students to join their outreach committee. Members of the outreach committee help get the word out about the center by tabling at events, running social media, collaborating with professors to present in classes and more. Those who join also receive a tuition waiver.

Sonia Velasco, a junior, is a member of the outreach committee. She said the tuition waiver she received made this a great opportunity to continue her education, and her involvement also helped her learn more about what resources the NSC offers.

“What I wish I would have known when I first started college is all of the helpful resources that Weber State offers,” Velasco said. “There are great opportunities that can help you become successful on your educational goals.”