How to Obtain Financial Aid for Technical College Education

Corey Givens Novak, financial aid manager at Lakeshore Technical College, discusses types of financial aid available for technical college students and how to obtain this aid.



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Interview with Corey Givens Novak
Financial Aid Manager
Lakeshore Technical College (5:29)


Announcer: This is Making Futures; helping individuals discover their passion and fulfill their potential.


Interviewer: Today I'm speaking with Corey Givens Novak, Financial Aid Manager at Lakeshore Technical College, and we'll be talking about financial aid in the world of technical colleges. Corey, what types of financial aid are available to tech college students?

Corey: There are three main types of financial aid available to technical college students. The first are grants. Grants are free money and come from the federal government and the State of Wisconsin. The two main grant programs are the Federal Pell Grant and the Wisconsin Higher Education Grant. There are also grants available that are geared towards special populations. These grants include the Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant, which are on a first come, first served basis for extremely low-income students. The State of Wisconsin offers grants for minorities, first-generation college students, handicapped and visually impaired students, and students that are Indian American. There is also a private foundation that offers grant to the State of Wisconsin called the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars. The second type of aid available is student loans. These loans are low interest and do not require payments while you are in school and up to six months after you graduate. The third type of aid available is the Federal Work Study Program. This program allows students to work on campus or with a community service program through their college while they're in school.

Interviewer: Wow, so there are lots of different opportunities.

Corey: Yes.

Interviewer: When should students begin applying for aid?

Corey: Students can begin applying for financial aid anytime after January 1 for the upcoming academic year. We highly encourage students and their families to wait until they have completed their tax returns, as you will need that information to complete the financial aid application.

Interviewer: Corey, how should people begin the process of applying for financial aid?

Corey: The first step is, obviously, to have all of your tax returns completed. Then, visit the FAFSA website at There you will find out what you need to apply for financial aid, and then you can complete the FAFSA right online. Once you have completed your FAFSA, you will be contacted by your financial aid office for any additional information that's maybe needed. The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and that application is the application that allows us to determine the eligibility for federal and state aid. That application takes a look at income, assets, and income other than work. It looks at household size, family members, and untaxed income, and then puts it all into a formula and spits out a number called an "estimated family contribution" number that the financial aid offices use to determine your aid eligibility.

Interviewer: And, how can students find out about these different scholarships?

Corey: With different scholarships I always suggest that a student visit their college's financial aid website. Most colleges offer scholarships from donors and alumni. You will also find information and links to legitimate scholarship searches. Another great place to find scholarships is within your community. So many service clubs, businesses and civic organizations offer scholarships. Also, unions companies that have unions also have union scholarships, so definitely check around your community.

Interviewer: And, just lastly, what types of academic programs are eligible for financial aid?

Corey: In the technical college system, all associate degree programs are eligible to receive financial aid. If you are interested in going into, lets say a technical diploma program or a certificate program, always make sure that you check with your financial aid office first to make sure that the program is financial aid eligible.

Interviewer: Thanks! Any other tips or advice for students about financial aid?

Corey: I would definitely encourage students to find out if there are FAFSA or financial aid nights being hosted at your local college or high school. These are great events to learn about financial aid and a lot of times it's financial aid professionals putting the events on, so you can get a lot of questions answered. My second tip is, apply early. Some financial aid programs have limited resources and are awarded on a first come, first served basis. My next thing is never pay to have your FAFSA completed. Completing the financial aid application is always free. And lastly, always stay in contact with your financial aid office. They are here to help you navigate through the financial aid process and answer any questions you may have.

Interviewer: Thanks Corey. I've been speaking with Corey Givens Novak, Financial Aid Manager at Lakeshore Technical College.

Announcer: Making Futures is a presentation of Wisconsin's 16 Technical Colleges. Thanks for listening.