Free FAFSA help available across NC on Feb. 20

College financial aid officers and specialists will be available throughout North Carolina on Saturday, Feb. 20 to help high school seniors, their families, and college students complete and submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form online. These free FAFSA Day programs will be available at host sites open from 9 a.m. until noon.

 

Completion of the FAFSA is required to be considered for any federal and most state financial aid for college, including scholarships and grants. FAFSA Day and other related events are sponsored by the collaboration of College Foundation of North Carolina, the North Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and State Employees’ Credit Union.

 

Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Go to CFNC.org/FAFSAday or call 866-866-CFNC toll-free for a list of event sites and register for the one nearest you. More than 65 sites will be available the morning of Feb 20.

 

During the week following FAFSA Day (Feb. 22-26), State Employee Credit Union branches will be ready by appointment to help students and families with FAFSA completion.

 

A February FAFSA Phone-In, also sponsored by CFNC, is another option for students and parents who have only a few questions on completing the FAFSA.  Every Tuesday night in February between 5 and 8 p.m., financial aid specialists will be available to help at the toll-free number, 866-866-CFNC (2362).

 

To be fully prepared to complete the FAFSA at one of these February FAFSA events,  participants should either file their 2015 federal taxes in advance or bring the following:  (1) both the student’s and parents’ federal 1040 tax forms for 2015 (or W-2 forms and other income and asset documents if completed tax forms are not available); (2) the student’s and one parent’s FSA ID obtained in advance from the U.S. Department of Education website, fsaid.ed.gov; and (3) a FAFSA on the Web Worksheet with as much information entered as possible.  The online Worksheet is available at www.fafsa.gov.

 

“Early completion of the FAFSA helps students take advantage of all of the financial aid opportunities available for North Carolinians,” said Marcia Weston, of the N.C. State Education Assistance Authority and CFNC coordinator of the FAFSA Day program.

 

“Students and parents don’t need to worry if they aren’t sure how to answer all of the questions on the form.  That’s why we have arranged to have experienced college aid professionals and financial specialists to help at each site.”

 

Weston also stated, “Filing 2015 federal taxes early makes FAFSA completion easier.  Most of those who file well in advance of FAFSA Day can then take advantage of the automatic transfer option to enter their tax information directly onto their FAFSA.”

 

She continued, “If a student or parent hasn’t yet filed taxes, they can enter estimated income information on the FAFSA, and updated tax information can be transferred to the FAFSA at a later date.”

 

More information is available on college and career planning on the College Foundation of North Carolina website, CFNC.org. Families will find college cost estimators, lists of scholarship, grant and loan opportunities, information about North Carolina’s 529 college savings plan, career descriptions and requirements, virtual tours of more than 100 of the state’s college campuses and online college admission and financial aid applications.

 

— Submitted by Danielle Durange

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