Group Offers FAFSA Help in Washington State

Filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a rite of passage for future and current college students and their families. That doesn't mean that the process is straight-forward and simple, however. Many struggle with getting it just right, especially since the stakes are so high if a mistake is made. That is why "College Goal Sunday Washington" offers free in-person assistance to families all over Washington state for completing their FAFSA.

This is the fourth time College Goal is holding these workshops, and this year there are representatives on site ready and willing to help at over 60 different locations throughout the state. Those who are interested can look at the schedule of the events, the first of which will be held this month, to get pointers on how to fill out an application that is considered the single-most important step in financial aid process.

Northwest Education Loan Association (NELA), statewide coordinators of the national College Goal Sunday program, is partnering with the Washington Student Achievement Council, College Success Foundation, the Roadmap Project, Washington College Access Network (WCAN), University of Washington Dream Project, United Way of King County, College Spark Washington, and school districts throughout the state to ensure that the class of 2013 has access to the resources and support needed to complete the financial aid process.

Events will be held in high school and college campuses as well as public libraries and will take place at different times in order to reach the largest number of people. The full listing is available on the organization's website.

Christine McCabe, Executive Director for College Spark Washington – a foundation that funds efforts to ease the path of low-income students striving to attend college – says that with the recent acceleration in the growth of tuition, getting the financial aid component just right is more important than ever. The process that starts with FAFSA should continue with students exhausting the possibilities of other grants and scholarship programs – all to ease the financial burden of themselves and their families.

Nearly 63 percent of students rely on financial aid to make attending college a reality. However, the paperwork can be confusing. At College Goal Sunday Washington students and parents can talk to experts and get in-depth help filling out the FAFSA.

While there, attendees can also talk to financial aid experts and learn about important dates such as application filing deadlines. They can also enter to win college scholarships of up to $500.

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