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FAFSA Day will be held this Saturday

On Saturday students returning or heading to college in fall 2017 are invited to participate in FAFSA Day to receive in-person help completing their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA Day will be staffed by college financial aid administrators and financial aid specialists.

In Rowan County, Catawba College will host the event from 9 a.m. to noon.

Pre-registration is strongly encouraged; visit CFNC.org/FAFSAday or call 866-866-CFNC toll-free for a list of the more than 50 event sites and register for the one nearest you. Carefully check the time, since these may differ between locations.

Many North Carolina college campuses’ financial aid offices will also be available to assist students and parents upon request during office hours on days prior to and after FAFSA Day.

Tips for being prepared for FAFSA Day or completing the FAFSA on your own include:

  • Get a Federal Student Aid Identification (FSAID) from the U.S. Department of Education Website, FSAID.ed.gov, before you start your FAFSA.  Both student’s and a parent’s FSA ID will be required to access the FAFSA, therefore, having them in hand will speed up the application process.
  • Have your 2015 tax information. When the student and parents’ 2015 taxes have been filed, most participants can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA. However, if 2015 completed tax forms are not available, having 1040 tax forms or W-2 forms and other income and asset documents in hand will be helpful.
  • Before FAFSA Day, it is also helpful to complete a FAFSA on the web worksheet with as much information entered as possible. The online worksheet is available at www.FAFSA.gov.

As of this year, the start date for applying for federal and state financial aid has been moved up to Oct. 1, 2016. This change is in comparison to previous years where students were unable to file for financial aid until the first of the year.

Completing and submitting the FAFSA is the first step in finding money to help pay for college. The sooner the FAFSA is complete, the sooner the student and family will get information about the possibility of qualifying for financial aid. To be considered for a share of the billions of dollars available in federal and state aid to students with financial need, you must apply. The FAFSA is also one of the documents that many schools consider when awarding financial aid.

An October FAFSA Phone-In, also sponsored by CFNC, is another option for North Carolina students and parents who have only a few questions on completing the FAFSA. Every Tuesday night in October between 5 and 8 p.m., financial aid specialists will be available to help at the toll-free number, 866-866-CFNC (2362).

Families also can get help with the FAFSA on Tuesday, Nov, 29, at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Greensboro.  In addition, during the week of Dec. 5, State Employees’ Credit Union branches will be available by appointment to help students and families with FAFSA completion.

“Early completion of the FAFSA helps students take advantage of all of the financial aid opportunities available for North Carolinians,” said Marcia Weston of the N.C. State Education Assistance Authority and CFNC coordinator of the FAFSA Day program. “Students and parents don’t need to worry if they aren’t sure how to answer all of the questions on the form. That’s why we have arranged to have experienced college aid professionals and financial specialists to help at each site.”

Weston continued, “Having an October FAFSA filing date aligns the financial aid and college application process, which helps students to streamline their college preparation activities. The early FAFSA filing date that now uses 2015 prior year tax information also means students and parents don’t have to wait until their 2016 taxes are completed.”

FAFSA Day, provided by the College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) and the North Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and FAFSA week, provided by State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU), are free services.

More information is available on college and career planning on the College Foundation of North Carolina website, CFNC.org. Families will find college cost estimators, lists of scholarship, grant and loan opportunities, information about North Carolina’s 529 college savings plan, career descriptions and requirements, virtual tours of more than 100 of the state’s college campuses, and online college admission and financial aid applications.

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