RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Graduation is just around the corner for high school seniors, and most have already begun looking into the next step of their education.
Many of these students may need assistance paying for higher education in the form of financial aid, but may be unsure what aid they are eligible to receive. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, FAFSA, is one way students can learn what financial aid best suits their needs.
Meghann Fraley, director of financial aid, said the University of Rio Grande Financial Aid Department will host the annual College Goal Sunday workshop Feb. 14 to help families through the application process.
“College Goal Sunday is a free FAFSA workshop. Students will have the opportunity to come in and work with our experienced staff to help them fill out their FAFSA information,” Fraley said. “FAFSA qualifies students for federal, state and institutional aid at schools across the nation. This can come in grants, work study opportunities, scholarships or student loans. It’s a one-stop application for financial aid.”
Fraley said students can choose up to 10 schools to receive their information, and because of this, a student does not have to plan to come to Rio to be welcome at College Goal Sunday. She said the event is meant to help local families who need assistance with, or would like to ask questions about, filling out FAFSA.
“The students who come to College Goal Sunday do not have to be planning on attending Rio,” Fraley said. “The idea is to provide these students with a convenient location to find professional assistance filling out their FAFSA.”
Families do not need to have their 2015 federal tax return completed to file a FAFSA, nonetheless both parents and students will want to bring any income paperwork, which might include copies of their 2015 federal 1040 tax return, W2s, Social Security card, driver’s license and any other benefit and income information to College Goal Sunday.
Fraley said the financial aid department understands filing these forms can be daunting for families filling out FAFSA for the first time, and the staff is more than happy to be able to serve students in the community by helping them prepare for college.
“Some people find filing forms like FAFSA challenging because you do need your tax information. People who have their taxes filed professionally may not have as much experience with these documents,” Fraley said. “Sometimes the process can be intimidating, especially for a family filling out FAFSA for the first time.”
Many colleges and universities have a priority filing deadline for filing FAFSA, which means students who apply before this early deadline will be eligible for the most financial aid available to them. For the University of Rio Grande, this deadline is March 15, 2016.
For more information about College Goal Sunday, contact Jessica Patterson at (740)-245-7463.