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Hastings College offering free tuition to Pell Grant-eligible students

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 8:51 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Hastings College recently began offering high school students in Adams County the chance at free tuition. Students attending Hastings High School, Saint Cecilia High School, Adams Central, Kenesaw High School and Silver Lake High School eligible for the Federal Pell Grant would qualify for the ‘Path to HC’ program.

As many as 15 students could receive funding through the new financial assistance program.

Chris Schukei, dean of admissions for Hastings College, said there were reasons they decided to get this program up and going for their future students.

“Everything that we want to try to do is open access to college education to as many people as possible,” Schukei said. “So, these are going to be families that the cost of Hastings College might have been prohibitive in the past but, now hopefully we are able to make cost a non-factor and give people a great Hastings College education.”

Schukei said the entirety of the program’s funding came from the college’s current donors.

Melanie Smith, a counselor for Hastings High School, works alongside students as they make their decisions on colleges. She said the ‘Path to HC’ program would provide their students heading into higher education a bit of relief.

“I really believe that it gives our senior and students even in high school hope,” Smith said. “They have hope that there are programs out there that they can apply and that they can get some financial help that is needed to go to college.”

She added, they encouraged their students to be prepared for their up coming college careers by checking out all opportunities and financial assistance options, such as the new program at Hastings College.

Schukei added that students must plan to attend Hastings College in fall 2022 and have their applications filled out, sent in and accepted, along with their 2022-23 FAFSA completed.

FAFSA applications opened up October 1 for the next year, and local organizations like the Education Quest Foundation, encouraged students to fill out the forms at their earliest convenience.

Treve Florom, the director of college planning and outreach services for the nonprofit, said the foundation helps students as they make their transition into higher education — such as filling out FAFSA. He noted it was important for students as well as their parents to get their FAFSA sent in and make sure to check out all financial assistance options to help out cover the hefty costs that come along with college.

“It’s a great way for them to qualify for them to quality, again, for the grants, the work study and the students loans,” Florom said. “And they also need to be looking at scholarships. There are some great scholarships in Nebraska that they can apply for. If they have a financial need component, they will need to have their FAFSA done and have the results for that scholarship application also.”

Florom said, typically, it takes three to five days for a college to receive the FAFSA and, depending on the rewards, students tend to find out a couple months down the road. He continued to say that private schools, like Hastings College, tend to offer “really good” financial assistance programs.

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