Wednesday January 9, 2013
Help available this weekend at College Goal Sunday
Mayor Greg Fischer and more than 100 current and prospective college students and education advocates sent a loud-and-clear message that thousands of dollars in financial aid and scholarships are available to those who take action this month.
Fischer, students and 55,000 Degrees advocates created a giant human message with their bodies in the YUM Center lobby to encourage students to act before the end of January by filling out the online form, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov.
Like a college marching band, the group formed the characters “55K,” the shorthand version of 55,000 Degrees, the public-private partnership committed to adding 55,000 more college graduates to Louisville by 2020. (see the video here: 55K Human Billboard)
“Too many people pass up the chance to go to college because they assume they can’t afford it,” Fischer said. “I’m here to tell you that hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial aid and scholarships are available to those who fill out a simple on-line form.”
Students can qualify for more than $7,400 a year in state and federal grants for public colleges ($10,400 for private colleges) by completing the FAFSA, said Mary Gwen Wheeler, executive director of 55,000 Degrees. The FAFSA is also commonly used in determining eligibility for scholarships.
“College is a smart investment in your future,” Wheeler said. “Take advantage of the support available to help you go to college and earn your degree.”
Grants, work-study funds and some loans are given based on need to lower-income households (i.e. families of 4 earning less than $33,000). But some funds are limited and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis; Kentucky’s funds will likely be committed for students at public colleges by early February and at private colleges by late February.
Help available to complete FAFSA forms
55,000 Degrees and its education partners are working to help students and parents complete the FAFSA this weekend as part of College Goal Sunday, a nationwide program that provides free information and assistance to families applying for college financial aid. College Goal Sunday mobilizes financial aid professionals from Kentucky and Indiana colleges and universities to help college-bound students and their families complete the FAFSA.
College Goal Sunday events will take place at 17 sites across Kentucky on Sunday, Jan. 13, including here in Louisville at the Gheens Academy / Male High School, 4425 Preston Highway, from 2 to 4 p.m. For information on other locations, go to www.kasfaa.com
(Indiana’s College Goal Sunday is set for Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013 at 2 p.m. and nearest location is Indiana University Southeast, 4201 Grant Line Road, University Center North-Hoosier Room.)
KentuckianaWorks College Access Center is also resource for students and parents seeking help in completing the FAFSA. For more information, call (502) 584-0475 or go to www.kentuckianacollegeaccess.org.
Filling out the FAFSA can help students get money from other sources beyond federal aid programs, such as universities and foundations, Fischer said. Filing a FAFSA is a requirement for many need-based scholarships. To complete the FAFSA, students need the following information for both themselves and their parents where applicable:
o 2011 income tax return
o Estimate of 2012 income (or W-2s)
o Final 2012 pay stub
o Driver’s license (student only)
o Social Security number
For more information about FAFSA and College Goal Sunday, go to www.55000degrees.org.