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College Bound? Check Out College Goal Sunday in Indiana

PHOTO: On College Goal Sunday, Indiana students and their families can get free assistance filling out the FAFSA form, which is necessary to be considered for grants, scholarships and student loans. Image credit:ArenaCreative - Fotolia.com
PHOTO: On College Goal Sunday, Indiana students and their families can get free assistance filling out the FAFSA form, which is necessary to be considered for grants, scholarships and student loans. Image credit:
ArenaCreative - Fotolia.com
February 20, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS — This weekend, financial aid experts are lending a hand to Indiana's college-bound students. During College Goal Sunday, volunteers at three dozen sites statewide will help students and their families fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Statewide coordinator for the event, Bill Wozniak, says it's the most important form used to determine eligibility for both state and federal financial aid, grants, and scholarships, adding that eligibility varies.

"A family might not be available for one, but they might be available for another," says Wozniak. "So, there's no set requirement – 'this group gets aid, this group doesn't' – because there are so many types of financial aid."

Wozniak says volunteers will walk people through the online form, line by line, and answer questions.

A complete list of sites is online at collegegoalsundayusa.org.

The FAFSA deadline is March 10 to be eligible for Indiana financial aid for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Wozniak says a parent or guardian needs to accompany a student to the event. Families need to bring their proof of income for 2014, such as Forms 1099 and W-2, and other 2014 benefits documents. He adds it is helpful if parents' 2014 income tax returns are already completed.

"If the family brings their W-2s and things of that nature, we can do it that way, but you're sort of doing your taxes as you're doing your FAFSA, and that gets a little more complicated."

While completing the FAFSA correctly and submitting it by the March deadline is sometimes perceived to be complicated and time-consuming, Wozniack advises families not to feel intimidated.

"You're not the first family to be nervous about the FAFSA," he says. "We do this every year and we try to get that message out – that families know they're welcome, it's going to be as painless as possible and afterwards, they're probably going to feel it wasn't that big a deal."

The program is in its 26th year in Indiana, and has helped more than 90,000 students complete their FAFSA forms.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN