As families with college-bound students begin completing the federal form to qualify for financial aid for the 2013-2014 academic year, USA Funds®
announces its support of two initiatives to assist families in filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is the form necessary to qualify for many student aid programs to pay college expenses.
College Goal Sunday. A total of 36 states and the District of Columbia will conduct College Goal Sunday® events to help students and their parents complete the FAFSA. Conducted annually, College Goal Sunday events bring together college and university financial aid professionals and other volunteers who offer free, expert help to students and parents to complete and submit the FAFSA.
College Goal Sunday events typically are conducted on college campuses, at local high schools or in other community buildings where parents and students get face-to-face help with the financial aid application. Many programs offer assistance with filing the FAFSA online, and many provide assistance for non-English-speaking parents.
During 2012 USA Funds assumed ownership of and responsibility for administering the program nationally. USA Funds also has awarded grants totaling $485,000 to support state College Goal Sunday programs.
CollegeUp.org. To help students and parents navigate the financial aid application and process, USA Funds has developed a free online resource at www.collegeup.org
. CollegeUp.org offers practical tips on how to tame the FAFSA and alerts families to early bird application deadlines for more than 50 state grant programs. FAFSA-filers can access the following resources on CollegeUp.org:
- The CollegeUp blog, which tracks financial aid trends, alerts readers to free FAFSA services, dispels common financial aid myths, and offers students and parents free advice and tips on paying-for-college topics.
- The government’s online FAFSA and a host of online financial aid resources.
- Information about multi-billion dollar federal financial aid programs, including Pell Grants, work-study and low-cost loans.
- Free, comprehensive scholarship search engines.
The latest addition to CollegeUp.org is an interactive "Who's My FAFSA Parent" quiz, which helps students and parents quickly answer one of the most common FAFSA-filing questions: Does a parent need to help complete the FAFSA, and, if so, which parent?
“The FAFSA is the gateway to an estimated $195 billion in financial assistance to help pay college expenses,” said Robert C. Ballard, senior vice president, Access and Outreach. “We urge all high school seniors and others planning to attend college during the upcoming academic year to complete and submit the FAFSA by the deadlines recommended by the schools they plan to attend. We encourage all FAFSA-filers to take advantage of free resources like College Goal Sunday and CollegeUp.org.”