Financial Aid Spotlight – Sugey Lopez

Tell us more about yourself, your background and what led you to CBD College.

I have been an FA Officer for the past 19 years and have worked at different schools both private and public. What led me to CBD College. I like working for smaller vocational schools because you have more one-on-one time with the students and are able to help them out better than at traditional schools, where they are simply the last 4 digits of their Social Security number.

What was CBD College like when you started?

When I started working here 4 years ago we only had the 4th floor and had a population of about 200 students. Now, the population is close to 500+ students I think and since I have started we have introduced 2 new programs: MRI and Dental.

How long have you been with CBD College?

4 years and counting!

What is your role in the Financial Aid Department?

My role is to facilitate the Financial Aid process to students and parents in helping them achieve their educational goals, and be able to walk them through the process with the completion of their FA paperwork and forms from the beginning to end of the program of choice.

What would you tell a student who is worried that they won’t be able to afford tuition?

Seek alternative private student loans or apply for scholarships or grants online. There is so much FREE money out there for students, however sometimes students don’t take the time to research. I always encourage students to go online and seek and apply for grants and scholarships. I also ask them to seek help with family and loved ones to see if they may be able to help with tuition or account balances.

What determines FA eligibility? 

Basic Financial Aid eligibility criteria;

Start by reviewing and understanding the basic eligibility criteria for federal student aid. Here are the basement-level requirements you must meet:

  •  You must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen and have a valid Social Security number.
  •  You must have a high school diploma or GED certificate.
  • You must be enrolled or accepted as a student in an eligible degree or certificate program.

Complete and submit a FAFSA;

The Department of Education requires that students file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to receive financial aid. It’s a form through which you provide details about your financial situation, your family circumstances, your college, and other information needed to verify your need and eligibility for financial aid.

Maintain satisfactory academic progress;

If you’re already in college, you must maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP). In other words, the federal government requires students to do reasonably well in school, according to the following measurements:

  •  You must earn at least average grades, defined as a GPA of 2.0 or higher.
  •  You must pass and complete at least two-thirds of the credits you attempt each semester.
  •  You must stay on track to complete your degree in six years or less for a bachelor’s or three years or less for an associate’s.

If you lose eligibility because of unsatisfactory academic progress, you can work to regain it, but you’ll be better off getting good grades, passing your classes, and staying on track for graduation.

These actions will ensure you remain eligible for all forms of federal student aid, including grants and student loans.

If a student is concerned about going into debt from student loans, what advice would you have for them?

I always tell them it’s an investment that they are making on themselves to have a career and not a job. They will be making themselves more marketable if they come to school and invest in themselves and obtain a certification, degree, and license.