Cody Mullins, a 25-year-old criminal justice major, says completing a financial aid form two years ago became a life-changing decision that continues to pay off.
Mullins found his passion for criminal justice after high school, but was afraid he couldn’t afford to go back to school. That’s when he found out about the FAFSA, or free application for federal student aid.
“I had just assumed I wouldn’t qualify for anything,” said Mullins. “So I wasn’t going to fill out the FAFSA. But then I was told to just try, and I am glad I did. When I received that email telling me what I was awarded, I couldn’t believe it.”
Among other awards, Mullins received the North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarship. He credits the aid he received from filling out the FAFSA as the only reason he could complete community college and enroll at Appalachian State University this fall.
“If I hadn’t received this aid,” said Mullins. “I would still be at Catawba for another year or more. I couldn’t pay for it out of pocket, unless I put it on a credit card. Now I am at Appalachian and will graduate with a degree in criminal justice in about two years.”
Mullins says he will continue to fill out the FAFSA every year. This year, he received both the lottery funded North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarship and the UNC Need-Based Grant. “A lot of people don’t know what the FAFSA is,” said Mullins. “But it can help you. It can change your life if you just fill it out.”
Because you played, students like Mullins can pursue their college dreams. Every year, money raised by the lottery helps provide scholarships and grants to North Carolinians. To see if you qualify, all you have to do is complete your FAFSA.
Saturday is FAFSA Day in North Carolina. Community colleges and universities across the state will be open and ready to help students and their families complete and submit their FAFSA. Whether you have one question, or just need a computer and Internet access – they are there to help. Visit https://www.cfnc.org/fafsaday to learn more.
Financial aid officials say the money is there to help cover the cost of college – you just need to complete it. Like Mullins said, “It can change your life.”
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