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Go Ask Mom

FAFSA Day: Five things high school seniors need to know

Posted February 14, 2016
Updated February 16, 2016

Graduation will be here in just a few short months, and high school seniors around the area are trying to lock in college plans for the fall semester, and figure out how they’re going to pay for it.

FAFSA Day is coming up this Saturday, Feb. 20. The annual event provides support and guidance to high school seniors and even those already attending college as they submit their free application for federal student aid.

North Carolina will have more than 60 sites available on Saturday where college financial aid officers and specialists will be on hand to walk students applying through the process.

Here, on, to help students and their families prepare, we will have a live chat at 9 a.m., Wednesday, with Hayley Broadhead, senior financial aid counselor at Duke University, and and Kochie Vaughan, associate director of scholarship and student aid at North Carolina Central University. They will be fielding your questions about financial aid and FAFSA (which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

We'll have more information about the application this week, but here are five things high school seniors and their parents need to know about the FAFSA:

  • Students must complete this form to be considered for any federal and most state financial aid for college including scholarships and grants. This will be the beginning of your efforts to get federal aid for college, career school or graduate school. The program gives more than $150 billion in grants, work-study funds and loans to students each year, according to the U.S. Department of Education. But you can't get any of that money if you don't fill out this form.
  • Applicants must meet certain requirements to receive any aid. For instance, they must demonstrate financial need, in most programs; be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen; and be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program, for instance. The Federal Student Aid website has more details.

  • The Federal Student Aid website includes a free financial aid calculator so you can get an estimate of the kind of federal student aid you might be qualified for. This will help you plan. You'll still need to fill out the FAFSA if you want federal aid.

  • Lots of forms and information is needed to fill out the application. They include the social security number for the student and parents (if the student is a dependent); the student's driver's license number (if available); the federal tax information or tax returns for the student or their parents; and more.

  • During FAFSA Day on Saturday, representatives will be walking students and their families through the application process. The College Foundation of North Carolina's website has all of the details.


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  • Roy Hinkley Feb 15, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    Why do you think it is a scam?

  • Jim Hinnant Feb 15, 2016
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    Number 1: The college-student loan system is one of the most notorious scams in U.S. history.