Free event helps college-bound families access financial aid

by Pamela Young, Published February 03, 2009

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YPSILANTI — With budgets tightening, more families are reaching for the lifeline of college financial aid this month.

For some, filling out the necessary financial aid forms is a daunting task. Fortunately, families will be able to access free one-on-one expert help at College Goal Sunday, scheduled at 28 locations throughout Michigan, Sunday, Feb. 8 from 2 - 4 p.m.

 Eastern Michigan University will host the event at the Bruce T. Halle Library, rooms G07C and G11, on its Ypsilanti campus.

Details are available at www.MiCollegeGoal.org.

“We’re seeing lots of applicants for financial aid this year, not just those coming out of high school, but also people who want to upgrade their skills or start a new career,” said Wilma Porter, president of the Michigan Student Financial Aid Association. “But as we tell all of them, the key to getting aid is filling out the FAFSA [Free Financial Application for Federal Student Aid], and the sooner the better.”

Porter says the good news is that while other credit markets have seized up, there are millions of dollars in scholarships and loans available for those who complete the FAFSA now.

Completing the FAFSA before March 1 of a student’s high school senior year ensures that he or she will be considered for all state aid programs. Students may miss out on some dollars if they wait until a later date to complete the FAFSA. 

“We’re getting lots of calls from families, too,” said Bryan Taylor of EduGuide, a nonprofit that helps coordinate the College Goal Sunday effort in Michigan. “Even if students still aren’t sure whether they’ll go to college, we tell them that it’s better to fill out the FAFSA now. You can always turn down an offer later if you don’t go.”

Families can post financial aid questions at any time on the parent or student advice forum on www.EduGuide.org.

Pamela Young

pyoung@emich.edu

734.487.4400

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