ICAN Helps 17,000 Prepare for College Financial Aid

ICAN Helps 17,000 Prepare for College Financial Aid

05/14/2014

FAFSA Completion Determined a Key Step to College Success

HIAWATHA, IOWA (May 14, 2014) — The Iowa College Access Network (ICAN) provided comprehensive one-on-one assistance to more than 17,000 Iowa students and parents this financial aid season, completing more than 7,700 FAFSA applications and helping current and prospective college students take a crucial step toward achieving educational success. .

“ICAN helped me out so much and taught me a lot about what I need to do [for college],” said Billie Kay Williams, a parent and customer at the ICAN Center in Sioux City. “I am so thankful for the help and support in the financial aid process.”

“ICAN is just an outstanding resource and their process is so easy to follow,” said Adam Scheurenbrand, a parent and customer at the ICAN Center in Ankeny. “My advisor was excellent!”

The FAFSA application (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), a federal form provided by the U.S. Department of Education, is the first step for most college students as they prepare to cover the costs of attaining a college education. The application helps colleges determine aid eligibility through the evaluation of family income and assets, along with family size and other variables. The form became available January 1, 2014, and ICAN’s team of college planning and financial aid experts has been hard at work helping many students and parents complete the form.

“Completing the FAFSA is an important step for students in their journey towards a college degree,” said Rob Miller, executive director at the Iowa College Access Network. “With the projected increase in demand for a more skilled and educated workforce, and with college  costs continuing to rise, financial aid has become a crucial factor in the success of many students.”

The college process can be daunting with multiple applications for admissions and scholarships, as well as paperwork for housing and financial aid. This is where the experts at ICAN excel. .

“Myths and misinformation may keep students from filling out the FAFSA. Our financial aid staff is ready to debunk the myths and get the facts to our students and parents,” said DeLores Hawkins, district director of financial aid for Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny. “In the process, we have come to depend upon our colleagues at ICAN to help families realize that applying for financial aid and obtaining a college education is doable, affordable, and  within reach.   ICAN offices are conveniently located throughout the state to help families make the college connection a reality.”

"My ICAN advisor was very hands-on and helpful in completing the application and explaining the [financial aid] process,” said Treasure Winther, parent and customer at the ICAN Center in Hiawatha. “They were very friendly and answered all my questions.”

During peak financial aid season (January, February, March and April), ICAN dedicates its team of Student Success Advisors to the FAFSA form, and helps as many families complete it as possible. “The FAFSA is one part of a greater mission; to emphasize the importance of higher education attainment as a means to increasing the number of educated workers in Iowa and creating a profitable and sustainable economy,” said Miller. “As a state, we need our youth to complete their education and prepare for the jobs of the future. This is one way ICAN is helping the state of Iowa achieve that goal.”

ICAN Advisors have presented nearly 400 financial aid programs since October 2013, providing an overview and preparing Iowa families for the 2014 financial aid season. In February, ICAN advisors participated in more than 100 FAFSA completion assistance events across the state. ICAN also provides financial aid assistance from its offices located in Ankeny, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Hiawatha, Orange City, Ottumwa, Sioux City and Waterloo.

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About ICAN

The Iowa College Access Network is a nonprofit, educational organization. ICAN is the College Access Network for Iowa, and a member of the National College Access Network (NCAN). ICAN has locations in Ankeny, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Hiawatha, Orange City, Ottumwa, Sioux City and Waterloo, which provide information and support to students and their families as they plan their postsecondary education and apply for financial aid. All ICAN programs and services are provided without charge. For more information about ICAN, call (877) 272-4692 or visit www.ICANsucceed.org

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