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January 24, 2013

Free Events Help Students Obtain Financial Aid for College

Jefferson City - Students and parents can get help filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid at 55 FAFSA Frenzy events around the state in January, February and March.

More than $150 billion is provided by the U.S. Department of Education to help students with financial need attend college. FAFSA Frenzy events make applying for financial aid easier by providing students with free, on-site help to fill out the FAFSA, which is the first step in applying for most federal, state and institutional financial aid.

2013 marks the 10th year Missouri has held statewide events to help students and their parents complete the FAFSA. During the past nine years, more than 9,500 Missouri students have received help at such events, and 65 percent of them were from groups that are under-represented in higher education, such as low-income, minority and first-generation college students.

The events help the state progress toward its goal of having 60 percent of the adult population possess a degree or high quality certificate by 2025. Currently, about 46 percent of Missourians ages 25 - 64 hold a postsecondary certificate or higher.

The events also boost college-going rates of low-income, minority and first-generation students. Commissioner of Higher Education David Russell said raising educational attainment among these groups could boost the state's economy by $4 billion.

"In order for Missouri to grow economically, it is essential to invest in the education of our citizens," Russell said. "FAFSA Frenzy helps remove the sometimes daunting barrier of applying for financial aid to make college more accessible." Russell will volunteer at a FAFSA Frenzy event Feb. 16 in Columbia.

 Missouri students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA as early as possible, but certainly by April 1 for timely consideration for financial aid.  Students and families do not need to have filed their federal income taxes for 2012 in order to participate in a FAFSA Frenzy event or to complete the FAFSA.

A majority of FAFSA Frenzy events will be held Saturday and Sunday, February 16 and Feb. 17. To find a location near you, click here or visit the Missouri Department of Higher Education website (dhe.mo.gov) and click on the FAFSA Frenzy banner.

Participants are asked to bring:

  • 2012 W-2 forms.
  • Copies of their 2012 tax forms, if they are ready. If students or their parents have not yet filed 2012 returns before they attend a FAFSA Frenzy event, they should be sure to bring any statements of interest earned in 2012, any 1099 forms, and any other forms required to complete taxes. This will allow students and their parents to submit FAFSA online during the event. The student will then need to go back to the FAFSA and submit corrections once tax returns are filed. 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. Scholarship funds are being provided by the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority and by the Missouri Association of Student Financial Aid Personnel. All students receive gift bags with helpful information for planning and paying for college.