Financial aid professionals will be volunteering at Indiana University South Bend and the IU South Bend Elkhart Center to help area college-bound students and their families open the door to financial aid during College Goal Sunday. The event will run from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 22, 2015.
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 important because 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.
Students, parents and guardians are invited to one of two IU South Bend locations. In South Bend, the event will be held on campus in the Education and Arts Building (Room 1105) at 1002 S. Esther Street. In Elkhart the event will be held at the IU South Bend Elkhart Center at 125 E. Franklin in downtown Elkhart. The locations offer free online access, computers, and financial aid volunteers to help students file correctly and answer questions.
Now in its 26th 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). “Nearly half of Indiana’s college students qualify for financial aid from the State of Indiana,” said Christina Lucas, 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.”
What students should bring
Students should attend College Goal Sunday with their parent(s) or guardian(s), and parents’ should bring completed 2014 IRS 1040 tax returns, W-2 Forms and other 2014 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 2014 IRS 1040 tax return, W-2 Form or other 2014 income and benefits information. Students and parents are encouraged to apply for their U.S. Department of Education Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) at www.pin.ed.gov before coming to the event.
If families have not yet filed their 2014 federal taxes they are still able to file the FAFSA using estimated information. Once they file they can update the FAFSA with the actual information. 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 www.CollegeGoalSunday.org.
Attendees may win educational prizes
Students may also win one of 16 $1000 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 $1000 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 35 states have opened doors to higher education for tens of thousands of students all over the country. Visit www.CollegeGoalSundayUSA.org to learn more.