Humboldt State University
Letter from Humboldt
February 2010

Hello Humboldt families! We hope this newsletter helps keep you involved with your student's experience at Humboldt State.

Dollars and Sense

Desiree Perez

College is one of the most important – and expensive – investments you and your student will make. Being able to finance a college education is tough. And it takes some solid financial planning.

My approach was to go to community college and work full-time to save money before I transferred to HSU.

Now that I'm at Humboldt, I depend on financial aid to help pay my way through school. Federal student loans cover most of my college expenses and I work two jobs to cover living expenses. And yes, on those rare but necessary occasions, I can borrow a few hundred dollars from my parents to make ends meet.

I've found that, as far as financial aid goes, the trick is getting the most possible out of what is available. For more ideas, I visited with HSU financial aid specialist Ann Plantin. Here are some key points:

  • Make sure your student files their FAFSA before the March 2 priority deadline. If they are dependents, they're going to need your tax and income information. You can make estimates about your tax information for now, but once you've filed your taxes you'll have to insert the actual amounts.
  • Have your student fill out a consent form to release financial information to you. Many parents pay for their student's education. However, unless your student is a minor, you can't get information about their financial account without them signing a consent form.
  • Be sure you're finding all the tax credits you're eligible for. College tax credits available include the Hope, Lifelong Learning and the new American Opportunity credit to name a few. Talk to your tax preparer and check out the IRS 970 publication for more information. Also, take a look at the CSU system's handy one-pager (pdf) about recent changes to the credits.
  • Call or visit the Financial Aid center for walk-in counseling to get familiar with the process of applying for and receiving financial aid.
  • DISCUSS. Sit down with your student and have a serious conversation about finances. Talk about what expenses you can realistically afford. It's also a good idea to discuss your student's cell phone plans and credit cards.
  • Don't assume! When it comes to financial aid: apply, apply, apply – even if you think you're not eligible. Otherwise, you might be missing out on aid.
  • Do everything you can to qualify for as much aid as possible. Lightening the financial burden will make you and your student happier and will give you both the chance to actually enjoy the college experience.

    Financial Aid Web site:
    FAFSA Web site:

    Desiree PerezAbout the editor – Desiree Perez is from Corona, Calif., and is a Journalism major with a concentration in Broadcast and a minor in Film. She is a student writer with HSU Marketing & Communications. She wants to be a documentary filmmaker before she grows up.

    Overheard this month on the family network »

    "My daughter Chelsea started this year and it has been wonderful to see her thrive. She lives on campus and LOVES it! She is planning on staying on campus next year as well, hopefully in one of the new apartments. Being on campus has allowed her to immerse herself in all that the college has to offer, without having to worry about meal prep or the like. She also was worried about noise levels but made friends on her floor and they have worked out study schedules and are really respectful of one another."

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