JANUARY 22, 2014

FAFSA February sets up Arizona students to score the most aid

College bound students have access to over $150 billion in financial aid!
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PHOENIX – College bound students are faced each year with rising tuition and higher expenses as they pursue their higher education dreams. For students and families of all financial situations, completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) remains the most critical first step in applying for any type of financial assistance, yet many students do not complete this important form or turn it in too late, missing out on available aid.

The Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education (ACPE) is proud to coordinate the 18th annual Arizona College Goal Sunday & Saturday TOO!, a statewide initiative providing students and their families FREE on-site professional assistance in completing the FAFSA each February.
According to the U.S. Department of Education over $150 billion of aid is available each year to help students pay for their educational expenses. Additionally, nearly $8 out of every $10 in student financial assistance (federal, state, institutional and private) requires the FAFSA. However, less than 25 percent of Arizona high school seniors actually complete the FAFSA in a timely manner to access this aid.

“Completing the FAFSA early is the key to removing one of the most common barriers students face in going to college,” explained Dr. April Osborn, Executive Director for the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education. “By completing the FAFSA early, college-bound students can be considered for all available student financial assistance to help them pay for their educational expenses.”

The FAFSA form is required to apply for all federal financial aid programs and is also required by the state for all state financial aid programs. Additionally, institutions and scholarship donors often require the FAFSA to be completed in order to apply for aid which is often administered on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible students. It is crucial to remember completing the FAFSA as early as possible is the key to being considered for all available student financial aid. In order to meet university priority filing deadlines, completing the FAFSA by February 14 is recommended.

To meet the deadline, Students and families that would like free assistance in navigating and completing the FAFSA are invited to attend a FAFSA workshop offered on February 22 and 23 at 28 locations across the State. Of the students and families who attended a College Goal Sunday & Saturday TOO! FAFSA workshop last year, 96 percent said they received much needed help in completing the FAFSA and getting financial aid questions answered with the guidance of more than 300 professional financial assistance volunteers.

In addition to receiving help in completing the FAFSA at College Goal Sunday & Saturday TOO! events, each student that submits a completed FAFSA at the event will have an opportunity to win one of several $1,000 scholarship or one of several new Kindle Fire HD e-readers.

The success of College Goal Sunday & Saturday TOO! could not be accomplished without the help of the hundreds of dedicated volunteers and support of partners. Partners include the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education (ACPE), USA Funds, and Arizona Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (AASFAA).

Twenty eight locations statewide from Northern Arizona to Maricopa County to Tucson will host College Goal Sunday events. Specific cities include: Casa Grande, Chinle, Flagstaff, Gilbert, Glendale, Globe, Keams Canyon, Mesa, Nogales, Page, Phoenix, Prescott, Tucson, Tempe, Tuba City, and Yuma. Spanish and Navajo interpreters will be available at select locations.

For the most up to date information on College Goal Sunday & Saturday TOO! event locations and tips on what you need to fill out your FAFSA be sure to follow College Goal Sunday & Saturday TOO! on facebook at Arizona College Goal Sunday (CGS). Visit www.collegegoalsunday.com for information on specific location addresses and line-by-line FAFSA instructions. For more information on the Commission visit www.azhighered.gov.