College financial aid officers and specialists will be available at Western Carolina University on Saturday, Feb. 23, to help high school seniors and families complete and submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid forms online.
The event at WCU, to be held from 9 a.m. until noon in Room 303 of the Forsyth Building, is part of a series of statewide FAFSA Day programs in all 100 counties of North Carolina.
Completing the FAFSA form is a requirement to be considered for all federal and most state financial aid for college, including scholarships and grants. This year’s statewide FAFSA Day is sponsored by College Foundation of North Carolina, the North Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and State Employees’ Credit Union.
Pre-registration is strongly encouraged, although not required. To register, visit the website CFNC.org/FAFSAday or call 866-866-CFNC.
To be fully prepared to complete the FAFSA on Saturday, participants should either file their 2012 federal taxes in advance or bring the following items: both the student’s and parents’ federal 1040 tax forms for 2012 (or W-2 forms and other income and asset documents if completed tax forms are not available); the student’s and one parent’s personal identification numbers (PINs) obtained in advance from the U.S. Department of Education website, www.pin.ed.gov; and a financial aid worksheet with as much information entered as possible. The online worksheet is available at www.fafsa.gov.
“It’s important to complete the FAFSA early to take advantage of all of the financial aid opportunities available for North Carolinians,” said Robbie Schultz of the N.C. State Education Assistance Authority and CFNC coordinator of the FAFSA Day program. “Students and parents don’t need to worry if they aren’t sure how to answer all of the questions on the form. That’s why we have arranged to have experienced financial aid specialists to help at each FAFSA Day site.”
Filing 2012 federal taxes early will simplify FAFSA completion, Schultz said. “Those who file well in advance of FAFSA Day can use the IRS data retrieval tool on the FAFSA form to transfer their tax information directly onto their FAFSA,” he said. “If a student or parent hasn’t yet filed taxes, they can estimate income information on the FAFSA, and then use the IRS data retrieval tool to submit FAFSA corrections at a later date.”
Another option for students and parents with a few questions on completing the FAFSA is the “FAFSA Phone-In” offered every Tuesday night in February. Financial aid specialists and experts will be available to answer specific FAFSA questions on the toll-free number, 866-866-CFNC (2362), from 5 to 8 p.m.
Additional free college planning information is available at the College Foundation of North Carolina website, CFNC.org. Families can find financial aid videos, college cost estimators, listings of scholarship, grant and loan opportunities, information about North Carolina’s 529 college savings plan, career information, virtual tours of more than 100 of the state’s college campuses and online college admission and financial aid applications.