By Kayla Tucker – Managing Editor
Just one week after attending freshman orientation, Gage Dionne learned that he has lost his financial aid and cannot afford to start his freshman year at Grand Rapids Community College this fall. The 18-year-old hoped to begin his 13-year plan to attend medical school, but is now making plans to continue to work through the semester and begin classes in the winter.
“It’s definitely a setback,” Dionne said. “It’s frustrating.”
Dionne applied for his Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at the beginning of the summer. After GRCC received the grant, Dionne was asked for a copy of his social security card and W2 to complete the process. Without the necessary paperwork, he would have to pay all the funds out of pocket. Dionne had to request the paperwork from the government, which requires an additional couple weeks of processing.
After missing the FAFSA paperwork deadline, Dionne was told by GRCC Enrollment and Financial Aid staffers that his classes were dropped because his incomplete FAFSA would not cover his tuition. Dionne, who was expecting the grant to cover most of his tuition this semester, was planning to start with a nine credit schedule. His estimated expenses were about $2,000.
Dionne, one of two freshman students being profiled by The Collegiate this year, has a passion to be an oncologist. After his uncle died of cancer last fall, Dionne has found the drive and determination to go to school and potentially help other families like his own. Although other students may have felt discouraged, Dionne has not had any change of heart.
“I’m just as motivated as ever,” Dionne said about starting school later than he thought. “If anything, it makes me a little bit more determined, now that there’s been a minor setback.”
GRCC administrators could not be reached for comment on this story Monday.