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Crawford High to be host site for college financial aid event

January 02, 2013
Local students needing help completing their financial aid form for college are in luck, as Crawford County Junior-Senior High School will be among the 41 College Goal Sunday sites on Feb. 24.

With the closest sites in past years being Jasper and New Albany, not many CCJSHS students attended the event. Therefore, at a workshop after last year's College Goal Sunday, CCJSHS guidance counselor Cindy Cain approached officials about becoming a host site.

"I felt like this was hugely important for our population, especially in Crawford County, because of the number of students going to our school whose parents never went to college," she said.

The event, however, isn't limited to CCJSHS students, and it isn't just for high school seniors getting ready to make the jump to college.

"We can help anyone," Cain said. "I think that's really important to get out there."

Basically, College Goal Sunday is for anyone seeking any kind of financial aid — grants, scholarships or loans — to attend college or technical school the following academic year as they are required to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid by March 10. This includes students already attending a college or technical school, as the FAFSA must be completed annually, as well as adults taking classes for the first time.

More than 550 volunteers helped students and parents complete the FAFSA at 40 sites during the 2012 College Goal Sunday.

"As financial aid professionals, our goal is to make the complicated financial aid process easier for Indiana families," Donette Cassman, senior account executive at Sallie Mae Inc. and College Goal Sunday co-chair, said.

Cain said professionals with knowledge about the newest financial aid requirements will be on hand at the College Goal Sunday event at CCJSHS to provide students and parents more detailed information than they normally could get from their school's guidance counselor.

"They can answer questions way beyond anything I can answer," she said.

To help volunteers answer questions, students and parents should bring their W-2 tax form, if completed, or check stubs and other financial information, Cain said.

To make the process as easy as possible, since the FAFSA can be submitted via the Internet, the school will have its computer lab open so persons wanting to send their form that day may do so, she said.

Cain stressed that it is vital to remember the March 10 deadline, as FAFSA applications submitted even a day late will not be accepted.

"I've had multiple students lose their 21st Century Scholarship (which allows qualifying students to attend any state school for free) because of not filing by midnight on March 10," she said.

To give students and parents an idea of how much a college degree will cost, Cain recommended they visit the website www.indianacollegecosts.org. Not only does the site, powered by The National Center for College Costs, estimates the price of college, it is a resource for finding money for college and understanding the financial aid process.

Cain said volunteers are welcome at the Feb. 24 event, which will begin at 2 p.m. Those wanting to help can assist parents and students log into computers, guide them on where and more. To volunteer, call Cain at CCJSHS at 365-2125.

For more information about College Goal Sunday, call 1-800-992-2076 or visit collegegoalsunday.org.

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