On Sunday, January 25th at Malden High School there will be an event held for FAFSA Day Massachusetts 2015. Guidance counselor Erin Craven said, “it starts at one o’clock and usually goes until about four o’clock and all the seniors from the entire area are welcome to attend.” Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form that is needed for all aid at all colleges throughout the U.S. As part of the National College Goal Sunday initiative, hundreds of thousands of students attend these events to obtain much needed help on finishing their college financial aid forms. The event is free as the program is a non-profit, and volunteer-driven organization. Anyone attending college for the 2015-2016 academic school year is welcome to come. Students that are low-income and first-generation are especially encouraged to attend.
Attendees are welcome to go to a presentation which will explain what FAFSA is and how it works. If you are someone who feels you do not need the presentation, another option is to go straight to a computer lab. Craven expressed that the computer labs are “where [families] can get one-on-one assistance using their personal financial information to enter into the FAFSA.”
Present at this event to help families complete the form online, and answer any questions, will be the local guidance team, along with a lot of volunteer financial aid and higher education experts. Families will be provided with one-on-one assistance.
Some of you reading this may ask, “what exactly is financial aid?” Financial aid is composed of grants, scholarships, loans and Federal Work-Study. If you receive a grant or scholarship, it does not need to be repaid. Student loans, however, need to be paid off, typically with interest. Federal Work-Study is a program that helps by providing different opportunities for employment to help with any educational expenses.
Students that are unsure if they are going to college right out of high school or not are still highly encouraged to attend. Filling out the FAFSA early will help with not missing any deadlines if a student decides to apply for college later in the year. Completing the FAFSA does not require students to decide on what college they wish to attend, nor if they wish to attend college at all.
Cravin boasts, “there are many different ways they can kind of utilize the few hours in the afternoon to get free help from financial aid experts.” There are a list of things that people attending this event, or events like this, should bring with them such as; FAFSA pin, social security number, driver’s license number, most recent federal tax return, most recent W-2 or year-end pay stub, untaxed income records, bank statement(s), business and investment records, and alien registration card (if not a U.S. citizen).
Both students and parents should bring those items. For those without a FAFSA pin, the FAFSA website contains a link to where you can apply for a pin. Those students who were born before January 1, 1992 are not required to bring any parental information with them.