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Expert volunteers from area colleges will offer students free help next month with completing federal forms required to receive financial aid for college.
Spartanburg Community College (SCC) will host a 2016 College Goal event Feb. 27 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in Room 301 at the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Industrial Technology on the Cherokee County branch campus. Financial aid counselors from SCC and Limestone College will be available to help students with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to help cover tuition costs at any qualified college.
A total of 43 colleges and high schools statewide will host events in February as part of this year’s College Goal. The initiative is sponsored by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education to help students and their families with the step of applying for financial aid to attend college.
“This offers an opportunity for all college bound students and their families to receive one-on-one assistance with completing the FAFSA as well as guidance on navigating financial aid,” said Daryl Smith, executive director of SCC’s Cherokee County branch campus. “This is for students who plan to attend any college. There will be financial aid counselors from the colleges on site to help students.”
The FASFA is used by colleges in determining the types of federal financial aid students can receive to help pay for higher education.
Applying early is important because some states have early grant deadlines and distribute college financial aid on a firstcome, first-served basis. Students can miss out on money to pay for college if they wait too long to complete financial aid paperwork.
“Financial aid awards are made based on when the FAFSA was submitted,” Gaffney High guidance department head Donna Phillips said. “There are limited funds for some grants and students that complete their FAFSA first are more likely to get those grants. Also, many colleges have a deadline or a priority deadline. Parents and students need to be aware of these deadlines. Those dates are not the same for all colleges.”
FAFSA filers must use a Federal Student Aid ID, which consists of a user-created user name and password. The ID can be used to get access to financial aid information online and electronically sign the FAFSA.
Information about setting up the ID and an online FAFSA worksheet are available online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.