Wall Street Journal student aid webcast features Penn State panelist

University Park, Pa. -- live-audience, panel-based interactive webcast discussing popular student aid topics of interest to prospective college students and their families features a senior director from Penn State's Office of Student Aid.

Melissa Kunes, senior director of Penn State's Office of Student Aid, sat on the expert panel of "Paying for College: What You Need to Know," presented by The Wall Street Journal on Campus and unigo.com. The webcast streamed live online at 7 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday, April 6, before a public audience from New York University's Kimmell Center, and remains available for online viewing here.

"It's my hope that this event will clarify the student aid process for incoming college students and their families and dispel some of the misconceptions and fears about the financial aid process," said Kunes.

She was joined for the live webcast by five additional panelists: Martha Holler, vice president, Sallie Mae; Mark Kantrowitz, publisher, Fastweb.com; James Boyle, president, College Parents of America; Lynn Higinbotham, director of finanial aid, New York University; and Jennifer Garratt Lawton, director of financial aid, Wesleyan University.

The purpose for the "Paying for College" webcast is to address information that prospective students need to know about paying for college. Topics may include: How can you take advantage of new government student aid programs? What's the best way to win college scholarships? What are student loan forgiveness programs? What are 529 plans, Stafford loans, Pell Grants, and PLUS loans? How can you get the best interest rates and benefits? and How do the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and CSS (College Scholarship Service) work?

Kunes emphasized that all students are encouraged to apply for student aid using the FAFSA, regardless of their financial situation, to see what financial assistance may be offered to them.

"The 2010-2011 FAFSA form has been greatly simplified," she added. "If you have your financial information in front of you and have read through the questions, you can fill out the form in a short amount of time."

Since summer 2008 Penn State has been a participant in the federal Direct Loan Program, recently signed into law for use by all U.S. colleges and universities by July 1 of this year. Kunes noted that the Direct Loan Program simplifies and economizes the student Stafford loan process. Savings from this program will provide additional funding for the federal Pell grant program, which is awarded to students with the greatest financial need.

For more information about student aid at Penn State, visit http://www.psu.edu/studentaid/ online.

For prospective students wishing to learn more about what it's like to be a student at Penn State, visit http://iyt.psu.edu or schedule an on-campus visit to one of Penn State's 20 undergraduate campuses at http://admissions.psu.edu/pennstate/visit/.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010