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Financing Any Student’s Educational Future: FAFSA Tips with Ruben Reyes, New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation

Ready for back to school? Whether you’ve got a college freshman about to spread their wings or a high school graduate intent on certification in a skilled trade, the bill for whatever comes next will arrive sooner than you think. Hosts Andrea Klunder and Josh Stringer close out the season with financial aid tips plus plenty of resources to help anyone navigating life and debt after high school––with Ruben Reyes, New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation (NMEAF), a provider of New Mexico student loans.

Want to know the best time to apply for post-secondary education funding options? “As soon as you can,” advises Ruben. With most financial aid awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, your chances of securing more money increase when you apply early. And often. Many folks don’t realize they can apply for financial aid each year that a student attends college or trade school. 

But where to begin? 

Regardless of your graduate’s plans or your family’s financial status, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form is the place to start. FAFSA data is critical to determining federal aid eligibility, including grants that recipients aren’t required to pay back. 

The FAFSA is easy to navigate and includes the most current information on application deadlines for each state, award amounts, and eligibility assistance. Still, some opt-out of the FAFSA because they don’t think their need is great enough. Ruben urges them to reconsider. “I always say just do it because you never know.” For those needing additional guidance, the NMEAF has many recommendations for funding their educational future, including Money Mondays, the Q & A session for all things FAFSA. 

Ruben also suggests contacting the financial aid offices of your short-listed universities or schools to learn about funding options like merit-based scholarships and local monetary awards. Del Norte Credit Union, for example, offers DNCU account holders access to its scholarship program through the Del Norte LOV Foundation. Don’t let financial aid go unclaimed. There’s a funding path for every educational endeavor and economic status. All you have to do is ask. “I see a lot of good things coming,” says Ruben, “and it’s because of these new students that are coming into our world now.”

Financial Tea Hot Sip: Fill out that FAFSA! It’s the quickest, easiest way to assess your eligibility for grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study opportunities. For those with more lead time, open a 529 savings plan for your student today. And for everyone with a student in their life, never miss an opportunity to let them know how special they are and how proud you are of them. 


Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Del Norte LOV Foundation

New Mexico Higher Education Department1-800-279-9777 

New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation (NMEAF)

The University of New Mexico

The Surrender Experiment – by Michael A. Singer

FTM0202: Fostering a Vibrant Financial Future with Connie Tooker Nuñez, Del Norte LOV Foundation

FTM0204: Put Your Money to Work for You, Investing for All Budgets with Scott Covey and Cynthia Frederick, Del Norte Investment Services


Ruben Reyes

New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation (NMEAF)

Provider of New Mexico Student Loans


Ruben Reyes, New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation

“I always tell students, look, anytime that you can get a grant or a scholarship, that’s the type of funding you want. The reason you want that is because grants and scholarships, as we know, you do not have to pay back.”

“One of the things I tell students, you know, yes, there’s career trades out there, but make sure 

that interest is you. Make sure that fits YOU.”

“We think everybody should complete the FAFSA form.”

“Other things that students and parents can do, of course, is apply for as many grants and scholarships that are available to them. There’s national scholarships, and there’s also local scholarship as well.”

“Bottom line, these colleges and universities want you. They want you to come to their college and university. So, you know, they’ll do everything they can to help you pay for the education there.”

“The thing to do is if you have questions or you’re not sure about something, call a financial aid office––and it doesn’t even need to be the college or university that your student may or may not attend. They are there to help everybody, and that’s what they do for a living. They help folks like you.”

“Our world is crazy right now, but it’s still a very exciting time for our young students because the world is changing. They are a big part of that.”


Financial Tea in the Morning is brought to you by Del Norte Credit Union.

Produced and Edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios 

Technical Director: Edwin R. Ruiz

Recording Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe

Hosted by Josh Stringer and Andrea Klunder

Production Support from Kirstin Smith and Brian Sanchez

Theme music by Ricardo Lambert


Del Norte Credit Union is Federally insured by NCUA and is an Equal Housing Opportunity Lender, NMLS ID 500583. Content in this episode is for entertainment purposes only and not financial advice.