College Applicants Should Complete FAFSA Forms
High school seniors who think finishing up college applications means you don't have to fill out any more forms -- you're not quite off the hook yet.
Soon after Jan. 1, prospective students and their families should fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is required to qualify for state and federal grants, need-based scholarships and some low-cost federal student loans.
For North Carolina residents attending N.C. colleges, the state has more than $250 million in need-based grant aid available for the 2009-10 academic year, part of the $600 million available in all state financial aid programs for college. To be considered for many of these, all families have to do is complete the FAFSA. Find out more about these programs and how to apply for financial aid at College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC.org).
"While 2008 tax information will be required to finalize your FAFSA, it may be an advantage to fill out the FAFSA earlier using income estimates before you finish your tax forms," says a spokesman. "You can make corrections after you have final tax figures. Much of N.C. need-based grant money is available on a first-come, first-served basis to qualified students, so it may help to submit your FAFSA as early as possible after Jan. 1."
There is a link to the 2009 FAFSA application at CFNC.org, or at the U.S. Department of Education Web site, FAFSA.ed.gov.
"One warning: avoid any Web site that charges you for help completing the FAFSA," says the spokesman. "You should never pay to fill out a FAFSA. It is just what it is called -- the "FREE Application for Federal Student Aid."
Those who need help completing the form, CFNC and the N.C. Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators offer FAFSA Day, a statewide event Saturday, Feb. 21. Students and families will be able to get free in-person help at more than 60 locations across the state.
To register for a FAFSA Day location near you, go to CFNC.org/FAFSAday or call the toll-free number, 866-866-CFNC. CFNC call center representatives also can answer any other questions about the financial aid process.
College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC), a free service of the State of North Carolina provided by Pathways, College Foundation, Inc. and the N.C. State Education Assistance Authority, helps students plan, apply and pay for college.
The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority is the state agency that promotes access to higher education by administering financial aid and savings programs, informing students and families about paying for college, teaching educators about financial aid administration, and advocating for resources to support students.
Pathways is a state-based initiative including North Carolina's Department of Public Instruction, the University of North Carolina System, the North Carolina Community Colleges, and the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities working together to increase access to college for all North Carolinians.
College Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit corporation serving North Carolina students and families since 1955, administers a portfolio of more than $3.5 billion, including low-interest federal education loans, the state's college grant programs and the tax-free "529" college savings program on behalf of the N.C. State Education Assistance Authority.
CFNC offers its resources via telephone, toll-free at 1-866-866-CFNC or on its Web site at CFNC.org.
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