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Indiana students to get free FAFSA filing help at College Goal Sunday

Financial aid professionals from across Indiana will be volunteering at 40 sites to help college bound students and their families open the door to financial aid during College Goal Sunday. The event is set for 2 PM (local time), February 27th, 2022.

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 Federal student loans at most colleges, universities, and vocational/technical schools nationwide. The FAFSA MUST be filed by April 15 to be eligible for Indiana financial aid. One of many reasons College Goal Sunday is so important is because many families perceive the form to be too complicated and time consuming to complete. In less than one afternoon during College Goal Sunday, students and their families can get free help and file the form.

“Filing the FAFSA can seem daunting to Hoosier students and families,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. “However, it’s an important step for anyone interested in education beyond high school. College Goal Sunday provides an opportunity for individuals to receive one-on-one assistance from financial aid experts to insure their FAFSA is completed accurately before the deadline.”

Now in its 33rd year, College Goal Sunday has helped more than 94,000 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).

College Goal Sunday Doubles the Help Offered

“The event on February 27th will be the second of two College Goal Sunday events ISFAA is offering this FAFSA filing season.” said Bill Wozniak, co-chair of College Goal Sunday. “We hope all Hoosiers who have not filed already, take advantage of College Goal Sunday, file the FAFSA, and get one step closer to fulfilling their educational goals.”

According to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, programs like College Goal Sunday are reaching first-generation college students. In recent years, according to CHE statistics, more single-parent Hoosier families have filed for financial aid, indicating programs like College Goal Sunday are reaching high-risk students and their families.

“Students who don’t complete their financial aid paperwork properly and on time are often very disappointed when they find out how much financial aid they lost,” said Wozniak. “This is why the Indiana Student Financial Aid Association not only continues to provide College Goal Sunday, but offers two events during the year. If our assistance gives students a better chance at education beyond high school and less debt, we’re fulfilling our mission.”

What students should bring

Students should attend College Goal Sunday with their parent(s) or guardian(s), and parent(s) should bring completed 2020 IRS 1040 tax returns, W-2 Forms and other 2020 income and benefits information. Students who worked should also bring their income information. Students 24 years of age or older may attend alone and bring their completed 2020 IRS 1040 tax return, W-2 Form or other 2020 income and benefits information. Students and parent(s) are encouraged to apply for their U.S. Department of Education FSA IDs at studentaid.gov before logging in to the event.

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 CollegeGoalSunday.org.

Attendees may win a scholarship from College Goal Sunday

Students may also win one of five $1,000 scholarships. Students who attend College Goal Sunday and submit a completed evaluation form will automatically be entered in a drawing for a $1,000 scholarship. The winners will be notified in spring and scholarships 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 completion, Scholars who have fulfilled the commitment and demonstrate financial need receive state funds to help cover their college tuition and fees for up to eight semesters at eligible Indiana public colleges or an equal dollar amount at eligible Indiana private 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 34 states have opened doors to higher education for hundreds of thousands of students all over the country.