College Students & High School Seniors Face Time to File FAFSA

College Students & High School Seniors Face Time to File FAFSA
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Now is the time to file for help paying for college in the form of the FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Justice Westerman, a freshman at Missouri Southern State University came to the financial office today asking about re-filing for financial aid.

He says, “If I didn’t receive financial aid, I wouldn’t be attending college. It was the Pell grant, depending on how much your parents make or you make in a year based off that. Student loans are available but you’ll be in debt later on in the future.”

MSSU Financial Aid Director Becca Diskin says, “FAFSA itself is step one to apply for any types of grants, loans, work study type funding and even scholarships. FAFSA’s really your best guide to determine what you’re eligible for.”

But, ask any college student or high school senior, and they’ll say the online filing can be overwhelming.

McAuley High School senior Dominique Paje says, “It is a lot of questions, a lot.”

Westerman adds, “It was kind of complicated at first, especially with the taxes like your W-2’s and everything. It’s kind of bunched together, frustrating.”

This year that might be easier once you’ve filed your return.

Diskin says, “If they received an electronic submission of your taxes, you can import from the IRS your tax information directly into the FAFSA.”

Financial aid officials says it’s important to consider other sources of revenue including scholarships

Diskin says sources are, “The school itself, also churches, community organizations, non-profits, corporations, places you work. Families need to be seeking those things out.”

Some scholarships are talent based like for band or athletics, but academic ones and even admission can require ACT or SAT scores, however they may not be the only measure.

Diskin says, “Scholarships often times are indexed based on a scale of ACT score, maybe high school GPA, even rank in high school senior class. And all those things can be a factor in determining what scholarships the school offers.”

But it all starts with filling out the FAFSA and fellow students say don’t be afraid.

Paje says, “Don’t be intimidated by the FAFSA just because it’s been the FAFSA. Once you do it you’ll realize it’s not that hard.”

It is important to file early. Missouri’s deadline for state aid based on the FAFSA is April first.

FAFSA Frenzy, an event held at schools to offer filing assistance, is February 28th.

Here’s a link to dates and locations.

http://dhe.mo.gov/ppc/ffsites.php

Crowder College is also offering FAFSA workshops throughout March.

Here’s a link to those.

< http://www.crowder.edu/content/uploads/2016/01/2016-FAFSA-PR-and-Schedule-01-22-2016.pdf >