Monday, July 10, 2017
BVC Can Help Parents Apply for College Financial Aid
Did you know that students are now able to submit FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application starting October 1st? And did you know that your chances of receiving a favorable financial aid package is higher the earlier you apply?
As we all know, college is expensive. The most important component of your financial aid application is the FAFSA and submitting it, as early as possible, maximizes the amount of federal aid you receive. Every little bit counts.
Since the application process is online, and filing for FAFSA is such an integral part of the college financial aid package, it can often be intimidating to those who are new to the college process.
Sharon Genicoff, Guidance Counselor at Bergen County Technical School:
“Some states award financial aid on a first-come, first-served basis, so eligible families who file soon after Oct 1 have a better chance of receiving aid, including grants, work-study and federal loans. You should file the FAFSA even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for need-based aid. If you want to take out a federal loan of any type—including the unsubsidized Stafford Loan, which isn’t based on financial need—then you’ll need to file the FAFSA. Also, some institutions require students to complete the FAFSA in order to be eligible for merit-based awards. Some students and families may have difficulty completing the FAFSA because of misconceptions, including thinking there is a fee. The FAFSA is free and families should never be charged for completing the application. Also, some students may not complete the FAFSA because their parents are not U.S. citizens. The citizenship of their parents has no bearing on aid eligibility and the FAFSA will not ask parents whether they are citizens. The form will ask for their Social Security numbers, though. If a student’s parents do not have this information, they can simply enter all zeros as a placeholder. Lastly, if families do not have access to the internet, there is a printable version available.”
We are here to help! Last year, the Bergen Volunteer Center launched the IRS-sponsored Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. This year, through an extension of the VITA program, volunteers are offering to help students and families understand and complete the FAFSA application. The FAFSA Help Sessions will be held between October 14th through October 28th. Specific locations and times are still being confirmed, so if you are interested in the Help Sessions or know anyone who might be interested, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information regarding FAFSA, you can also visit www.fafsa.gov.
We are also looking for volunteers for the FAFSA event who can help families and students to fill out the FAFSA forms. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact email@example.com.
Keep an eye out on our website (http://www.bergenvolunteers.org) or our FaceBook (https://www.facebook.com/bergenvolunteers) for any updates regarding the FAFSA Help Sessions.