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January 20, 2016

Missouri families can get free help applying for student financial aid
100 FAFSA Frenzy events planned in 47 counties

Missouri students and their families can receive free professional assistance to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Financial Aid at 100 events throughout the state this year. FAFSA completion events are planned in 47 counties during January, February and March.

Now in its 13th year, FAFSA Frenzy is sponsored annually by the Missouri Department of Higher Education. 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 many colleges and universities.

"Completing the FAFSA often is the first step students must take to apply for financial aid for college,” said Commissioner David Russell. “We don’t want the FAFSA to be a barrier for anyone making plans to attend college, so sitting down with students and families as they complete the form is an important priority for us.”

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

The FAFSA should be submitted as soon after Jan. 1 as possible. Students and families do not need to have their federal income taxes filed for 2015 in order to participate in a FAFSA Frenzy event or complete the FAFSA.

The FAFSA must be completed by April 1 to qualify for the state’s Access Missouri grant program, although it’s important for students to know that a number of higher education institutions have earlier financial aid deadlines.

More than 40 of the FAFSA Frenzy events will be held Sunday, Feb. 28, with an inclement weather date of Sunday, March 6. A majority of the events are held 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.

When attending a FAFSA Frenzy event, participants should bring:

  • 2015 W-2 forms.
  • Copies of their 2015 tax forms, if completed. If students or their parents have not filed their 2015 tax forms before they attend a FAFSA Frenzy event, they should bring any statements of interest earned in 2014, 1099 forms, and other forms required to complete their 2015 tax returns. This will allow students and their parents to submit their FAFSA online during the event. Once their 2015 tax forms are filed, families can then submit corrections or updates to the form. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool should be available to help families submit corrections accurately within a few weeks after the tax filing date.
  • Student and parent FSA IDs. The new FSA ID is a username and password both the student and parent will need to sign the FAFSA. Students and parents can apply for their individual FSA IDs at www.fsaid.ed.gov before attending a FAFSA Frenzy event.

Students who attend a FAFSA Frenzy event will be entered into a statewide drawing for a scholarship that can be used for a Missouri higher-education program for the fall 2016 term. Scholarship funds are being provided by the Missouri Association of Student Financial Aid Personnel.

More than 13,000 Missouri students have received assistance during FAFSA Frenzy since the event began in 2004.

FAFSA Frenzy is one way Missouri is working to achieve its goal for 60 percent of working-age adults in the state to have a two- or four- year degree or high-quality professional certificate by 2025. Currently, about 50.6 percent of Missourians ages 24 to 65 hold a postsecondary certificate or college degree.

FAFSA Frenzy is a program of College Goal Sunday.