Kick-off Iowa College Goal Sunday Events Draw Dozens
Students, Families Receive Free Help Filing College Financial Aid Form
WEST DES MOINES, IOWA (Feb. 16, 2009) — Eighty students planning to attend college
this fall received free assistance filling out and filing their federal financial aid forms Saturday
at two Des Moines–area Iowa College Goal Sunday events.
“This is the first year for this event in Iowa, and we’re very pleased with Saturday’s turnout,”
said Juan Garcia, the 2009 Iowa College Goal Sunday state coordinator and manager of the
Iowa College Access Network®
(ICAN). “We want to help as many families apply for financial
aid as possible, especially in today’s economy.”
The inaugural Iowa College Goal Sunday program kicked off at two locations in the Des
Moines area – the Des Moines Public Library in downtown Des Moines and the ICAN
College Planning Center in West Des Moines. The program is part of a nationwide
campaign in which volunteers provide free, on-site assistance in filing the Free Application
for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The FAFSA uses income, business, investment and
bank records to determine eligibility for aid. While critical to the financial aid process, many
students and families find the form confusing.
“It seems so complicated with all the numbers,” said Christine Her, a Drake University
freshman who attended Saturday’s Iowa College Goal Sunday event. “I went the easy route.
It’s good that there’s a group of people willing to help high school and college students fill
out the FAFSA, and they do it for free.” FAFSA asssistance will be available at four additional locations later this month. On
Saturday, Feb. 21, families may attend Iowa College Goal Sunday at Indian Hills Community
College in Ottumwa and at the University of Northern Iowa Center for Urban Education in
Waterloo. The following Saturday, Feb. 28, Iowa College Goal Sunday will be held at Iowa
Western Community College in Council Bluffs and at Western Iowa Tech Community
College in Sioux City. All events run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are free. More information is
available online at www.IowaCGS.org.
Garcia advises students to file the FAFSA even if they don’t think they’ll qualify for aid.
“Besides the federal government, states and schools look at the FAFSA to determine if they
can help students with grants and scholarships,” he said.
Chris Anderson of Pleasantville, who has a son attending a California community college
and a daughter entering college this fall, agreed. “You never know. My kids probably won’t
receive financial aid, but I think it’s important to fill it out every year.” Anderson received help
with her children’s FAFSA forms at Saturday’s Iowa College Goal Sunday event.
Iowa College Goal Sunday is part of the national College Goal Sunday program funded by
grants from Lumina Foundation for Edcuation. Several Iowa organizations have partnered to
plan and implement the event, including the Des Moines Schools GEAR UP program, Iowa
Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, Iowa College Access Network, Iowa
College Student Aid Commission, Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Dollars for Scholars,
Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates, Iowa TRIO programs and Scholarship America. College
Goal Sunday events are often held on Saturdays, despite the program’s name, to better fit