Event can help students find aid

Published 10:05 pm Thursday, January 22, 2009

Forget about the classes, the dorms or the homework. Sometimes, the most frustrating part of college is just finding a way to pay for it.

The Virginia Association of Student Financial Aid wants to help and has invited students attending college in the fall to a Super Saturday event on Jan. 31.

In 21 locations throughout the state – including the Regional Workforce Development Center in Franklin – the group will be setting up computer labs to offer personalized help to students filling out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid.


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“FAFSA is notorious for being a complicated form,” said Teresa Harrison, financial aid assistant at Paul D. Camp Community College. “The government has really moved away from the paper format. It’s an online application that is basically — for most college students — the only thing they need to complete to be considered for financial aid in their college of choice.”

Harrison said state governments and universities do not usually require separate forms, applications or profiles in order to grant aid.

Each year, the financial aid community pushes these types of events, because the earlier students complete their financial aid requests, the greater their chances of getting money for college.

“The good thing about students filing on time is that many schools and universities have small pots of money,” Harrison explained. “Institutional money and state money typically is first-come, first-serve. That’s why most schools have a filing deadline. In other words, the students who get there first are considered for the most type of funds the school has available.”

On Saturday, students will have trained volunteers working them through the entire application process.

“It is hands-on,” Harrison said. “When they get done, they will have completed their FAFSA. And this makes them on time for most schools.”

She added that the majority of colleges ask that the FAFSA be completed sometime between Feb.15 and March 15.

Students under 24 years old need to be accompanied by a parent. By attending Super Saturday, they will be entered into a raffle for a $100 book scholarship at whatever school they attend.

They do not have to have their 2008 taxes completed yet to fill out the FAFSA, but it is recommended that they bring any 2008 tax information possible, as well as any new W-2s received for the 2008 calendar year to make the process as detailed as possible. Students and parents also need bring their ID’s.

Students who cannot attend next Saturday’s event can still fill out their FAFSA form by visiting www.fafsa.ed.gov.

For more information on the FAFSA or Super Saturday, call at the financial aid office at PDCCC at 569-6715.