Variety of financial options for students wanting to attend college this fall

So, you forgot to send in those scholarship applications last spring, but you still want to attend college this fall. How are you going to pay for your classes? Well, if you choose Lone Star College-North Harris, there are a variety of financial aid and payment opportunities to help you get started in classes on opening day Aug. 25 including: late filing for financial aid for future reimbursement; last minute payment options using cash, checks or credit cards (American Express, MasterCard, Visa and Discover); and deferred payment plans. 

"While the priority dates for applying for financial aid in time to receive money before classes begin has past, students may come in at anytime to apply-they will just have to be initially responsible for all tuition and fees. We can't guarantee results, but if found eligible for the grant, the student may receive a reimbursement," says Phyllis Ocheltree, LSC-North Harris interim financial aid director. "Certain restrictions apply, so it is best to come in now and discuss your financial aid options with NHC financial aid adviser-even this close to the semester starting."

Although the college recommends students apply for scholarships, grants and loans at least six months in advance, the reality is most do not. 

It is Ocheltree's job to help students wanting to attend college clear the first hurdle-the financial one. As the fall semester gets closer, most scholarship deadlines have ended-but the college has options to help students pay for this year's fees and then tries to guide them towards applying early for the next semester's scholarship opportunities.

Students can also pay for their classes with cash, checks or credit cards (American Express, MasterCard, Visa and Discover). For those students who find it inconvenient to drive to the college during normal business hours, there is an after-hours payment dropbox located outside of the college business office where payments can be made by check or credit card (no cash in dropbox please). 

Payment may also be made on-line through the student's MyRecords site using a checking account, savings account, and/or credit card. And, credit card payments can be made directly over the phone during normal business hours. Students making their payment by the tuition deadline date will ensure that their classes will not be cancelled.

If a student does not qualify for federal or state financial aid, the college also has another payment option available to students who register this fall. A deferred payment plan is available and designed to assist students who cannot pay the entire tuition and fee cost by the deadline. The deferred payment plan consists of a down payment of 50 percent of tuition and fees for credit classes that are a full 16-weeks in length. The remainder of tuition and fees will be divided into two payments due throughout the semester. There is a $20 non-refundable service fee payable at the time the agreement is set up. For dates and times of availability, you may visit http://www.lonestar.edu/72934/ and/or you may call 281.618.5474.

The college also encourages students to apply for student financial aid grants. These grants are approved by the college and provided by the federal, state or LSC-North Harris sources. To receive these grants, a student must have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid 2008-2009 (www.fasfa.ed.gov) or submit a valid student aid report to the financial aid office. Students are encouraged to apply throughout the year. Students are initially responsible for all tuition and fees, but if found eligible for the grant, the student may receive a reimbursement.

For more information and office hours, contact the LSC-North Harris business office at 281.618.5474 or the LSC-North Harris financial aid office at 281.618.5464.

Lone Star College-North Harris is located at 2700 W.W. Thorne Drive, one-half mile south of FM 1960 E, between Aldine-Westfield and Hardy Roads. For more information about the college, call 281.618.5400 or visit: NorthHarris.LoneStar.edu.

Lone Star College System consists of five colleges, including CyFair, Kingwood, Montgomery, North Harris, and Tomball, six centers and Lone Star College-University Center. It is the largest college system in the Houston area, and third largest community college district in Texas. To learn more, visit LoneStar.edu.

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