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New financial aid process for Fall 2018

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The first year of community college could be free for first time students.
Photo illustration by Alexander Bissell/Cuestonian

By Holly Walsh
Opinion Editor

Cuesta College is creating a smooth-running admission application that allows students for Fall 2018 to apply for admission, financial aid and scholarships at one time.

All three applications opened Oct. 1, 2017, and for the first time ever students will have access to an online scholarship application, which includes the Cuesta Promise Scholarship.

“Our goal is for students to be able to complete their FAFSA, general college application and scholarship application in one sitting, rather than having to come back on three separate dates to complete these applications,” said Patrick Scott, director of financial aid.

This school year, a total of 449 scholarships were awarded to 239 students, amounting to nearly $340K in scholarship funds distributed.

“We encourage all students to apply for scholarships; many who think they won’t qualify for one end up getting multiple awards,” Scott said.

Ellie Ruth Salgado, a nursing student since 2013, received four scholarships, all specific to nursing school.

“I applied for all scholarships through the Cuesta website for the first time. I figured I had nothing to lose, and really needed the help to pay for school. Cuesta makes it super easy to apply,” Salgado said. “They provide the students with a scholarship template and that same application is used for all scholarships offered.”

Cuesta foundation scholarships are available to all new and continuing students. Foundation scholarships are awarded to students that demonstrate academic excellence, leadership skills and success in making progress toward a degree or certificate at Cuesta College.

The money awarded in foundation scholarships can be used for tuition, books and other expenses.

The Cuesta Promise is a fee-free first year to all recent San Luis Obispo County high school graduates, including those receiving their GED and those who were homeschooled.

Since it launched in 2014, more than 2,000 students have received the Promise, saving up to $1,400, according to Lauren Milbourne, Cuesta’s media relations coordinator.

The deadline to apply for Cuesta College’s general scholarships is March 2, 2018.