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January 28, 2015

Free events planned to help students apply for financial aid for college

Students and their parents will have an opportunity to receive help with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid at one of 88 FAFSA Frenzy events this year.

Completing the FAFSA is often the first step students must take to apply for financial aid for college.

Now in its 12th year, Missouri’s FAFSA Frenzy will include events in 40 counties throughout the state during January, February and March. Financial aid professionals, high school counselors and other volunteers provide free assistance and answer questions during the events.

The program is sponsored annually by the Missouri Department of Higher Education.

“We are pleased to be able to help students with the sometimes daunting task of applying for financial aid,” said David Russell, Missouri commissioner of higher education. “We don’t want the FAFSA to be a barrier for anyone wanting to attend college. FAFSA Frenzy events are designed to assist families with an important part of the college-planning process.”

Students can receive assistance at any of the FAFSA Frenzy events, no matter where they live, attend school or plan to attend college. The events are open to all students, including high school seniors, current college students and non-traditional students.  

Students must fill out a FAFSA every year to be eligible for most types of federal and state aid, including grants, scholarships and loans, as well as financial assistance offered by colleges and universities. The application should be completed as early as possible. April 1 is the deadline to qualify for the state’s Access Missouri grant program, while a number of higher education institutions have earlier financial aid deadlines.

Many FAFSA Frenzy events will be held Sunday, Feb. 22, with an inclement weather back-up date of Sunday, March 1. The events are often located at high schools and on college campuses. 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 and families do not need to have their federal income taxes filed for 2014 in order to participate in a FAFSA Frenzy event or complete the FAFSA themselves.

Participants are asked to bring:

  • 2014 W-2 forms.
  • Copies of their 2014 tax forms, if completed. If students or their parents have not yet filed their 2014 returns before they attend a FAFSA Frenzy event, they should be sure to bring any statements of interest earned in 2014, 1099 forms, and other forms required to complete their tax forms. This will allow students and their parents to submit their FAFSA online during the event. Once tax returns are filed, students can 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. 

More than $150 billion is provided by the U.S. Department of Education to help students with their financial need to attend higher education. Missouri awarded more than $107 million in state financial aid during 2014.

In 2014, nearly 1,700 Missouri students received help during FAFSA Frenzy events. Volunteers have assisted more than 12,000 Missouri students since the program began in 2004.

Students attending Missouri FAFSA Frenzy events this year will have a chance to win one of sixteen $500 scholarships that can be used for enrollment at a Missouri higher education institution during the Fall 2015 term.

Scholarship funds are being provided by the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority and the Missouri Association of Student Financial Aid Personnel.

For more information about the FAFSA Frenzy program, visit dhe.mo.gov/ppc/fafsafrenzy.php