January 22, 2014

FAFSA Frenzy expanded to 81 events in Missouri

Missouri students and their families will have more opportunity this year to get help filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Financial Aid – an important first step in applying for financial aid for college.

Missouri’s FAFSA Frenzy, sponsored annually by the state Department of Higher Education, is being expanded to 81 events in 44 counties during January, February and March. Professional assistance with filling out the form is provided free of charge.

“FAFSA Frenzy can assist families with the sometimes daunting process of applying for financial aid to help with the cost of higher education,” said David Russell, Missouri commissioner of higher education. “For most students, completing a FAFSA is a vital part of the college planning process.”

In 2013, more than 1,400 students participated in 57 FAFSA Frenzy events across the state. In the past decade, more than 10,000 Missouri students received assistance during the events.

Most FAFSA Frenzy events are held at high schools and colleges. Students and their families can receive help at any location in the state, no matter where a student attends high school or plans to go to college.

A majority of the events this year will be held Sunday, Feb. 9. Information about all dates and locations can be found at dhe.mo.gov/ppc/ffsites.php, or by visiting the Department of Higher Education website at dhe.mo.gov and clicking on the FAFSA Frenzy banner.

Students must fill out a FAFSA every year to be eligible for most types of federal and state financial aid, including grants, loans and scholarships. Many colleges and universities also use the application to determine eligibility for their financial assistance and scholarship programs. 

The FAFSA should be completed as early as possible. April 1 is the deadline to qualify for the state’s Access Missouri grant program, while most colleges and universities have earlier financial-aid deadlines.

Students and families do not need to have their federal income taxes filed for 2013 in order to participate in a FAFSA Frenzy event or complete the FAFSA themselves.

Participants are asked to bring:

·         2013 W-2 forms.

·         Copies of their 2013 tax forms, if they are ready. If students or their parents have not yet filed 2013 returns before they attend a FAFSA Frenzy event, they should be sure to bring any statements of interest earned in 2013, any 1099 forms, and any other forms required to complete their tax returns. This will allow students and their parents to submit FAFSA online during the event. Once tax returns are filed, students can then submit corrections to their FAFSA. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool should be available to help submit corrections accurately within a few weeks after the tax file date.

·         Student PIN and parent PIN. Students and parents may apply for PINs at www.pin.ed.gov before attending a FAFSA Frenzy event. 

Students who attend a FAFSA Frenzy event will be entered into a statewide drawing to win a scholarship that can be used for enrollment in a Missouri higher education program for the fall 2014 term. Scholarship funds are being provided by the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority and the Missouri Association of Student Financial Aid Personnel.

Events to help students plan and pay for college are one way Missouri is working to achieve its goal for 60 percent of the adults in the state to have a two- or four- year degree or high-quality professional certificate by 2025. Currently, about 46 percent of Missourians ages 25 to 64 hold a postsecondary certificate or college degree.

 

###