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Every semester, many students apply for FAFSA financial aid; however, simple mistakes such as putting in the wrong date of birth can complicate the application process. The FAFSA form can be confusing and frustrating, but there is a resource on campus that provides help to finish that FAFSA form correctly. The resource is FAFSA Help Day. It’s an event where students can bring their forms to a counselor from the Financial Aid Office who will help fill it out so there aren’t any further problems.
“The purpose of FAFSA Help Day is to provide a place for students to come on campus and receive help completing the FAFSA,” said Joel Cook of the Financial Aid Office and the person who manages FAFSA Help Day. “Students bring their laptops, their tax information and work on completing the FAFSA. As the students have questions, they may raise their hands and receive assistance from a financial aid counselor. The counselors can show students different tools and resources available to help them through the FAFSA process.”
The program started in fall 2018. The Financial Aid Office set it up in a Manwaring Center classroom, and students would come in seeking help.
“We wanted to create a space for students to come and work on the FAFSA and feel comfortable asking questions,” Cook said. “Completing the FAFSA can be overwhelming to students who are unfamiliar with the process. The FAFSA Help Day provides our team a chance to answer students’ questions specific to the FAFSA and the federal aid process. I believe the students that came during the fall semester had a great experience.”
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Students benefited from the help that was provided in the past. They were able to complete the FAFSA without any further issues. The counselors are there and ready to answer any questions and help resolve any issues.
“I do recommend talking to a counselor to answer your financial aid problems,” said Riley Hoogendoorn, a junior studying communication. “They are the gatekeeper that will help you to get financial aid quicker. Going to get help saves time and frustration.”
Cook hopes to continue helping students who are having trouble filling out their forms. It is very important to finish FAFSA on time so the students can receive full aid. Without it, some students are not be able to take care of their finances and tuition. Receiving help filling out FAFSA will help ensure the students get their aid faster.
“The FAFSA Help Day is the best place for students to come, ask questions and get help completing their applications in a relaxed setting,” Cook said. “There is no formal presentation given or certain length of time a student must spend there. Students may come and go as they please. They are always welcome to receive help. The counselors want them to progress.”
The next FAFSA Help Day will be held on Feb. 5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in MC 387.