Free Help Available for College Financial Aid

Free Help Available for College Financial Aid

02/04/2015

Volunteers to Help Families Fill Out FAFSA

 

CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA (Feb. 4, 2015) — Iowa students and families can get free assistance with forms required for federal financial aid at Iowa College Goal Sunday, held throughout the months of February and March, in 43 Iowa locations.

“Iowa College Goal Sunday events provide the opportunity for students and families to receive professional guidance and assistance with the financial aid forms, helping to ensure a student has the best chance at the maximum amount of financial aid available to them,” said Brittania Morey, state coordinator of Iowa College Goal Sunday. “For many the financial aid process is a scary thing and getting free help from a professional financial aid expert helps them relax a bit and reduces the overall stress planning for college can have on a family.”

Volunteers for Iowa College Goal SundaySM will help students and their families fill out and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as part of a national program that helps students qualify for federal financial aid. The FAFSA, which is available in free paper and electronic forms from the U.S. Department of Education, is the first step in the qualification process.

“Mason City High School is in our third year of hosting College Goal Sunday. We feel it is important to assist the families all over North Iowa with this important task. We have had families that have traveled over 40 miles to file the FAFSA at our event,” said Karla Wymore, professional school counselor at Mason City High School. “Even families who have completed the FAFSA before, find comfort in having the professionals on-site assist them so they come back every year. It is a great way to get the FAFSA completed without interruptions and in a timely manner.”

To complete the FAFSA, families should bring, for both the student and parent, the following:

  • Social Security number, driver’s license number and date of birth
  • Most recent federal and state tax returns
  • W-2 forms or other records of income earned last year
  • Current bank statements and investment records
  • Records of untaxed income received last year
  • 2013 business and farm records
  • Alien registration numbers if not a U.S. citizen

Students and parents may also register in advance for federal personal identification numbers (PINs) to electronically sign the forms and make future changes. To request a PIN, visit www.pin.ed.gov.

This year, Iowa College Goal Sunday will span two months and will be held in 43 Iowa locations beginning Feb. 2 and running through March 7.

“This year we’ve expanded not only our locations, but also our time frame in an effort to provide help to all families at the time that fits their schedule.” said Morey. “Moving from a single week of events to 74 events over a two-month period provides flexibility to both the families we help and our partnering organizations hosting these events.”

“The Eastern Iowa Community Colleges of Clinton, Muscatine and Scott are always glad to participate in the CGS event.  It is a wonderful feeling when you can walk a family through the FAFSA and they are thrilled to find out it wasn’t as hard as they thought it would be,” said Jane Haugland, district financial aid officer, Eastern Iowa Community College District. “Often times, this is the one step that gives them confidence to move forward with their goal of attending college.  It is a great service that we provide to our Iowa students!”

Students or parents may attend individually, but it’s best if the student and at least one parent or guardian come together. Certain paperwork is required to fill out the forms. (See sidebar.)

Events will be held in Ames, Ankeny, Calmar, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids/Hiawatha, Centerville, Clarinda, Clinton, Council Bluffs, Creston, Davenport, Denison, Des Moines, Dubuque, Emmetsburg, Fort Dodge, Iowa City, Iowa Falls, Keokuk, Lamoni, Marshalltown, Mason City, Monticello, Muscatine, Orange City, Ottumwa, Perry, Sheldon, Sioux City, Storm Lake, Waterloo, Waverly and West Burlington. For information on locations, dates and times, please visit www.IowaCGS.org. Details are also available from the Iowa College Access Network (ICAN) at (877) 272-4692 or CGS@ICANsucceed.org.

Iowa College Goal Sunday is part of the national College Goal SundaySM program, currently managed by USA Funds and held in 40 states and the District of Columbia. A number of Iowa organizations have partnered to plan and present Iowa College Goal Sunday.

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About College Goal Sunday

The Iowa College Goal Sunday is part of the national College Goal SundaySM program, currently managed by USA Funds and held in 40 states and the District of Columbia. The program is funded by a grant through USA Funds with additional support from the Iowa Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (IASFAA).

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