February is Financial Aid Awareness Month “Financial Aid Chat with Deenene Merchant”

Deneene Merchant

Deneene Merchant has been in Higher Education for 30 years now with 15 of those years, specifically related to Financial Aid. 

She spent a lot of time working in pre-college and collegiate programs, just helping students be able to gain access to college and then helping them to find a way to pay.

In this episode of Higher Education Advocates Podcast:

03:12 - (FAFSA) Free Application for Federal Student Aid. 

03:48 -  FAFSA is available beginning October 1 of each year, Deneene encourages all families to complete that application.

04:28 - REMINDER: The FAFSA is free so please do not pay anyone to complete the FAFSA.

05:00- Go to studentaid.gov to complete the FAFSA.

06:32 - What type of financial aid is available to families who complete the FAFSA?

07:36 -  Explanation of Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans

08:27 - Deneene explains the importance of federal work-study to students.

09:25 - FAFSA is the first step to receiving financial aid

11:45 - What is the maximum amount of financial aid a student can receive?

12:21 - What is the loan amount for first-time students going to college?

13:25 - What is the importance of doing the FAFSA early?

14:18 - Deneene's advice for families when it comes to comparing colleges? 

17:38 - Deneene's advice: she encourages families to review award letters and review costs. 

19:43 - Why is it important for families to meet financial aid deadlines?

  • and then where can they find the deadlines? 
  • What can you find out about these deadlines?

22:09 - Deneene message for families?

Contact Deneene at fainfo6752@gmail.com

Links Mentioned:


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Theresa Harris

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