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Get a handle on college costs at upcoming events

Have a high school senior at home? Worried about college costs? Then check out these upcoming events.

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Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

High school seniors and their families can learn all about paying for college this weekend as part of Free Application for Federal Student Aid Day.

The program, which will be held at locations across the state, runs from 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 13. Completing the application is a requirement to be considered for all federal and most state financial aid, including scholarships and grants, for college. The day is sponsored by the College Foundation of North Carolina, the N.C. Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the State Employees' Credit Union.
Students can register for the program or drop in, I'm told. To be fully prepared for the event, participants should bring some paperwork: the student's and parents' federal 1040 tax forms for 2009 (or W-2 forms and other income and asset documents if completed tax forms are not available); the student’s and one parent’s Personal Identification Numbers obtained in advance from the U.S. Department of Education website and a FAFSA on the Web Worksheet with as much information entered as possible.

“Students and parents shouldn’t be concerned if they aren’t sure how to answer all of the questions on the form," said Robbie Schultz, of the N.C. State Education Assistance Authority and CFNC coordinator of the FAFSA Day program, in a press release. "That’s why we have arranged to have experienced financial aid specialists to help at each FAFSA Day site.”

In the Triangle, the event will be held at N.C. State University, St. Augustine's College, Wake Tech, N.C. Central, seven State Employee's Credit Union locations in Orange County, and Johnston Community College. Click here for all the locations.

The College Foundation's website also has a wealth of information about college, even for those of us whose kids are years away from it. They include cost estimators, details about the state's 529 savings plan and more.

And for more on financial aid, the College Foundation will host Financial Aid 101 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 16 at West Regional Library in Cary. The event includes a discussion about financial aid basics, the FAFSA, college costs, the application process and more. Register by calling 919-463-8500.

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