Students should take advantage of FAFSA program

Hundreds of volunteers will assist at more than 30 host sites statewide this month to help college-bound students and their families complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

This state program is called MI College Goal and is a collaborative effort between several organizations wanting to increase the number of Michigan students who pursue an education beyond high school.

For those unfamiliar with the FAFSA, its completion is necessary for students wanting to secure financial aid for college.

It can also be difficult to fill out.

That’s why these FAFSA events are so important. Experts will be on site to help families complete the application for free and get the most financial aid available.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, students who submit the FAFSA are more likely to go on to college.

If you are graduating from high school in 2016 or are already in college, the state recommends filing by the March 1 priority date to ensure eligibility for federal and state programs.

Fortunately, there are events locally for students who want help with the FAFSA.

MI College Goal will take place at Lake Michigan College’s Napier campus from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 27 and at Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac from 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 27.

Students under 24 years of age are encouraged to attend with a parent or guardian. Parents and students should bring their completed 2015 Federal tax return (1040) if possible, or their W-2 and 1099 forms. A complete list of items to bring are located at www.micollegegoal.org.

Even if you aren’t certain that you will go to college, you should apply for state aid. If you decide not to go, filling out the FAFSA won’t hurt. However, if you do decide to go and don’t fill out the FAFSA you could wind up missing out on financial aid.

 

Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.

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