A Conversation with Freddy Whiteside, Director of Student Financial Services

Freddy Whiteside has been serving Pacific Union College students in the office of student financial services for eight years, and in February of this year, he stepped into his new role as director. “The best part of what I do,” he says, “is interacting with the students and finding additional financial aid options for them whenever I can.”

One of the most common questions Freddy hears from students and their families is, “Can I afford a private school?” This is, obviously, a growing concern in the U.S., and Freddy’s job is to ensure the answer to that question in reference to PUC is a resounding, “Yes!”

What is one piece of financial aid advice you would give all high school students?

Treat your GPA like it’s money because it is.

What do you think is the most underutilized financial aid resource?

Without question, it’s contacting businesses directly about private scholarships. Most people don’t realize this is an option, but it absolutely is!

What’s something about financial aid at PUC people might be surprised to learn?

Every single student who attends PUC qualifies for financial aidthis means 100 percent of the student body qualifies for financial aid!

What are some of the most important deadlines when it comes to applying for student scholarships or financial aid?

March 2 is the Cal Grant deadline. You must have your FAFSA and the GPA verification form done by this date.

How can I work out a payment plan?

PUC has a nine-month payment plan and it runs from September to May. We also have a twelve-month payment plan which starts in June, before school starts, and goes through to May. Arrangements for these plans can be made with our office.

Is the investment in college is worth it?

Take a moment to consider this: The difference between a high school diploma and a college degree is now $1.5 million in earning potential.

What kind of campus or local jobs are available for me to make money to help with tuition?

PUC currently employs hundreds of students in various departments across campus. In these roles, students have the opportunity to earn money that can go directly to their student account. Additionally, there are various jobs available in the surrounding valley that are a perfect fit for college student schedules, if an off-campus job is preferred. The student employment office can answer questions about these options. (Editor’s note: Visit the Student Employment page on our website or email stuemployment@puc.edu for more information)

How do I apply for financial aid?

Students can apply for financial aid by visiting fafsa.gov in addition to visiting puc.edu/scholarships, where they can find all the forms they’ll need to apply directly to PUC for aid. I would also encourage students to contact their local church and conference regarding scholarships.

How much access to my financial records do my parents have?

Parents have no access to their student’s financial records without consent. Students are required to fill out a consent form which allows other individuals (such as parents or grandparents) to view their financial aid.

What if I want to study abroad while I’m here? How does that affect my financial aid status?

If a student decides they want to study abroad, they would still qualify for financial aid. It does not affect their aid status at all, so long as they follow the outlined steps to communicate with the appropriate departments about their plans.

What happens if my financial situation changes mid-year?

If this happens, we have the ability to revise a student’s FAFSA based on their current financial situation. They could potentially qualify for additional financial aid, based on the circumstances.

Does PUC offer renewable scholarships?

Yes, PUC has many four-year guaranteed scholarships. Please check out the website at puc.edu/scholarships for a list of available renewable scholarships.

What is the #1 website you would recommend to parents who might be overwhelmed by the financial aid process or are going through it for the first time?

I actually have three websites I like to recommend: #1 studentloans.gov: This is a government website that focuses on student loan debt, however, they have a lot of great resources about paying for college. #2 finaid.org: They cover everything from student loans, scholarships, grants and more. They also have advice on ways to save for college. #3 fastweb.com: This is a website for scholarships, internships, and career advice.

To connect with Freddy and his team of financial counselors to discuss your financial situation, email studentfinance@puc.edu or call (800) 862-7080, option 1.

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