Financial aid professionals will be volunteering at 42 sites in Indiana to help college-bound students and their families open the door to financial aid during College Goal Sunday. The event is set for 2 p.m. (local time), Feb. 21, 2016.
The free program assists Indiana students in filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA form is required for students to be considered for federal and state grants, scholarships and student loans at most colleges, universities and vocational/ technical schools nationwide. The FAFSA MUST be filed by March 10 to be eligible for Indiana financial aid. College Goal Sunday is so important since completing this required form correctly and by the deadline is sometimes perceived to be complicated and time consuming. In less than one afternoon at a College Goal Sunday event, students and their families can get free help and file the form online.
Now in its 27th year, College Goal Sunday has helped more than 90,000 Indiana students and families complete the FAFSA properly and on time. College Goal Sunday is a charitable program of the Indiana Student Financial Aid Association (ISFAA).
Program assists students
“Far too often families don’t know who to ask for help with their FAFSA,” said Bill Wozniak, co-chair of College Goal Sunday. “This event helps families across the state file the FAFSA, and brings students one step closer to fulfilling their educational goals.”
According to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education’s Division of Student Financial Aid (SFA), programs like College Goal Sunday are reaching first-generation college students. In recent years, according to SFA statistics, more single-parent Hoosier families have filed for financial aid, indicating programs like College Goal Sunday are reaching high-risk students and their families.
“There is significant disappointment for students who don’t complete their financial aid paperwork properly and on time,” said Wozniak. “That’s why the Indiana Student Financial Aid Association continues to provide College Goal Sunday. If our assistance gives students a better chance at higher education, we’re fulfilling our mission.”
What students should bring
Students should attend College Goal Sunday with their parent(s) or guardian(s), and parents’ should bring completed 2015 IRS 1040 tax returns, W-2 Forms and other 2015 income and benefits information. Students who worked last year should bring their income information as well. Students 24 years of age or older may attend alone and bring their own completed 2015 IRS 1040 tax return, W-2 Form or other 2015 income and benefits information. Students and parents are encouraged to apply for their U.S. Department of Education FSA IDs at fsaid.ed.gov before coming to the event.
Volunteers will walk through the online form line-by-line and answer families’ individual questions as needed. All sites offer FAFSA online capabilities and many have Spanish interpreters. A complete list of sites is available at CollegeGoalSunday.org.
Attendees may win educational prizes
Students may also win one of ten $1,000 scholarships. Students who attend any of the College Goal Sunday sites and submit a completed evaluation form will automatically be entered in a drawing for a $1,000 scholarship. The winners will be notified in March, and prizes will be sent directly to the higher education institution selected by the winning students.
21st Century Scholars benefit
21st Century Scholars are income-eligible students who sign a contract in the seventh or eighth grade promising they will graduate from high school, meet grade point requirements, fulfill a pledge of good citizenship, and apply for college financial aid. Upon high school graduation, Scholars who have fulfilled the commitment receive state funds to help cover their college tuition and fees for eight semesters at eligible Indiana colleges. To fulfill their pledge, scholars must submit a completed FAFSA form on time. College Goal Sunday can help.
Program is a national model
College Goal Sunday originated right here in Indiana, and is now a national model. Following Indiana’s example, College Goal Sunday events organized by more than 34 states have opened doors to higher education for tens of thousands of students all over the country. Visit CollegeGoalSundayUSA.org to learn more.
For more information about College Goal Sunday visit CollegeGoalSunday.org.