By Nyesha Stone
Every year students and parents deal with the hassle of filling for the free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It can be time consuming and confusing if it’s a family’s first time going through the process. To make the process of filling for FAFSA easier, College Goal Wisconsin (CGW) began hosting professional events to help families complete the application.
These events have been helping families since 2006 and this year’s events will take place between October 4 and November 8.
Forty-three College Goal Wisconsin events will be held throughout the state of Wisconsin, and any student who comes to one of the events will be entered into a drawing for a scholarship. The scholarship money is provided by their sponsors such as the UW system.
College Goal Wisconsin board member, Vicky Somers says the purpose of this program is to increase the awareness of FASFA and to educate students and their families.
“It gives families a one-on-one counselor,” said Somers.
Somers is the site coordinator for CGW’s program at Alverno College in Milwaukee. She’s not sure how other coordinator’s run their events, but hers usually last a few hours. She likes to have 17-25 volunteers, so each family can receive the help they need.
Her events usually start with a ten-minute presentation that provides basic information about the FASFA process. Then, the families disperse and find a computer to get started on their applications.
These type of events are essential to first generation families, whom sometimes have no idea what FASFA is or how to tackle it.
“Filling out FASFA is intimidating to some people,” said Somers. Somers suggest coming to CGW’s events prepared: bring last year’s federal tax and W2 forms, any untaxed income records, information on savings or assets, social security number, ID and cell phone.
Students don’t need their parents to fill out the application as long as that student has their parent’s information. The student could also fill out their information, press save, and, then have their parents fill out their own information at a later time.
Over 22,000 Wisconsin students have received free help from CGW’s events.
If families have questions contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beginning October 1, students may start filling for FASFA.