Aerial view of the Dowagiac campus

FAFSA help available Sunday

Hundreds of volunteers will help Michigan students and their families complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, during College Goal Sunday events Feb. 9 at more than 30 locations statewide, including Southwestern Michigan College.

SMC’s event takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Barbara Wood Building on the Dowagiac campus.

Financial aid experts will be available to guide students and their parents through each step of completing and filing the FAFSA.

Students should complete the FAFSA by March 1 to get at the front of the line for funding, even if they’re not sure what kind of college or career training they want to pursue after high school.

Many students are surprised to find they qualify for thousands of dollars in aid, and they can decide later whether to use it; but if they wait, they may get less.

The program helped Michigan become first in the nation during the last decade at increasing the percentage of low-income students applying for financial aid.

To celebrate, students who attend have an opportunity to compete for a $1,000 scholarship, an iPad mini and other awards.

Students under 23 years of age are encouraged to attend with a parent or guardian. Parents and students should bring their completed 2013 Federal tax return (1040) if possible, or their W-2 and 1099 forms.

The FAFSA is required of any student seeking financial aid, including grants, loans and many scholarships.

Last year, 1,185 Michigan students received assistance.

Information to bring:

• Your and your parents’ Social Security numbers

• Driver’s license

• W-2 forms or other records of money earned

• Your and your parents’ 2013 federal income tax return

• Any 2013 untaxed income records (Social Security,
Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, welfare, veterans benefits)

• 2013 bank statements

• 2013 business and investment mortgage information, business and
farm records, stock, bond and other investment records

It is highly advised that you obtain a PIN number before attending.

Go to pin.ed.gov to get yours, and don’t forget to bring it with you to the event.

College Goal Sunday is a collaboration with the Michigan Guaranty Agency and the Michigan Student Financial Aid Association.

The program is administered nationally by USA Funds, a non-profit corporation headquartered in Indianapolis that works to enhance postsecondary education preparedness, access and success by providing and supporting financial and other valued services.

Additional support was provided by C.S. Mott Foundation and DTE Energy Foundation.