Free Help with Financial Aid Forms Available on Feb. 24 During College Goal Sunday
College-bound students and their families can receive free expert assistance with filing the 2013 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Financial aid staff from Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus (IUPUC) and Ivy Tech Community College will be available at 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 24 in the Columbus Learning Center as part of College Goal Sunday, a national outreach program.
Anyone who plans to seek federal or state financial aid—including scholarships, grants, and loans—for college this fall is required to complete the FAFSA. Indiana residents must submit completed forms by March 10 in order to be eligible for state aid.
“College Goal Sunday is geared toward traditional students, nontraditional students, and parents who want assistance with completing the forms, which can sometimes be perceived as complex and confusing,” said Jennifer Perry, director of scholarships at IUPUC.
College Goal Sunday helps bring students one step closer to fulfilling their educational goals, including those who are first-generation college students and students who live in single-parent families. Nearly half of all college students in Indiana qualify for state aid. This includes Twenty-First Century Scholars who signed contracts as middle school students to graduate from high school, meet grade point requirements, and are income-eligible.
Perry is the College Goal Sunday site coordinator for Columbus. In total, the program will be held in 41 other Indiana host cities. In addition to IUPUC volunteers, Perry said volunteers from Ivy Tech and Harrison College will also participate in the Columbus event.
High school students who plan to attend should bring their parents and the family’s completed 2012 IRS 1040 tax returns, W-2 forms, and other 2012 income and benefits information, which is required by state and federal financial aid regulations. Adult students who are no longer living with their parents and/or are 24 years of age or older may attend alone. Students who were employed on a part-time or full-time basis in 2012 should also bring their own tax returns andW-2 forms with them.
Attendees should also bring a FAFSA personal identification number (PIN) with them on February 24. “Students or parents should apply online for a PIN at www.pin.ed.gov before meeting with us,” she explained, noting the PIN number is needed to submit the forms.
The Indiana Student Financial Aid Association, of which Perry is also a member, also operates a toll-free helpline during February’s Financial Aid Awareness Month. The helpline number is 800.992.2076.
Students who participate in the event and submit a completed evaluation form will automatically be entered in a prize drawing. Winners will be notified in March; prizes will be sent directly to the college or university which the student attends.
“Although there has been a great deal of media attention at the local, state, and national levels about the cost of higher education in recent years, nearly half of all students in Indiana will qualify for state assistance. Participating in College Goal Sunday is just one of the ways IUPUC is making financial literacy and affordable education a top priority for the 2013-14 academic year,” Perry concluded.
College Goal Sunday is a cooperative, charitable effort of the Indiana Student Financial Aid Association (ISFAA). The program is provided in cooperation with Learn More Indiana, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education’s Division of Student Financial Aid (SFA, formerly the State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana) and The Twenty-first Century Scholars Program. It is funded by Lilly Endowment, Inc., Lumina Foundation for Education, USA Funds and Indiana Secondary Market for Education Loans, Inc.
For more information about College Goal Sunday, visit www.CollegeGoalSunday.org. For more information about financial aid and scholarships at IUPUC, go to www.iupuc.edu or call 812.348.7231.