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The Weber State University Education and Outreach Office is providing help for students who are interested in federal financial aid in a series of events as part of FAFSA February.
FAFSA, or the Free Application for Student Aid, is a federal application that determines a student’s eligibility for federal student aid. Students hoping to receive federal funding such as a Pell Grant, Stafford Loan or federal work-study job must complete a FAFSA form.
For applicants who don’t know where to begin, FAFSA February can provide an opportunity to get started on the application process.
“(FAFSA February is) a series of dates and times where we offer free assistance to the community for helping current college students or graduating seniors with the FAFSA application and the process itself,” said Rebecca Tierney, who is in charge of FAFSA February as part of her duties as educational talent search director, part of Education and Outreach.
The events are scheduled in February to allow the applicants a head-start on the process.
“This whole initiative that we’re doing to get them to complete their FAFSA now gives them plenty of time to follow the process all the way to the end,” said Betty Sawyer, the director of WSU’s GEAR UP partnership and a local sponsor for FAFSA February. “They can’t get everything done at one time. It’s important that they start early to get things moving, follow up on the paperwork, respond to questions they are asked and make sure they are ready when it’s time to go to school. We are there to help them do that.”
Tierney said she agreed, adding that some people are unaware of the time the process takes.
“There’s a misconception as far as the FAFSA just being one step or just a couple steps that you go through and you’re done,” Tierney said. “There’s all this other information, like when they receive the money and when they register for classes and when the money is dispersed to them, and they need to let the institution know which school they are going to. There’s all this stuff that you need to follow through on to get the financial assistance.”
The events will have representatives who can explain the process and answer questions about FAFSA, both in English and in Spanish. Attendees will also be able to receive assistance in filling out the proper forms.
Aside from assisting with FAFSA, Sawyer said, the events also serve as an opportunity for WSU to reach out to the community.
“(The events are) providing an important role for the university to be in the community,” Sawyer said. “(We are) in the schools letting people know that Weber is accessible to them, and this is a place to put on their list of top three schools to attend when they go to college.”
FAFSA February includes five three-hour events over four days. More information, including dates and times, is available at http://www.weber.edu/fafsahelp.