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Financial aid form help available

By , Columbian Education Reporter
Published: January 21, 2015, 4:00pm

o What: Anyone considering continuing education beyond high school can take part in College Goal Washington, workshops about financial aid and help in completing the 2015 Free Application for Federal Student Aid or the Washington Application for State Financial Aid. Staff and student volunteers from Washington State University Vancouver and Clark College will answer questions and help students and families complete aid forms. All presentations and assistance will be offered in English, Spanish and Russian.

o When: 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

o Where: Scarpelli Hall, Clark College, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver.

o Cost: Free.

Bring:

o Student Social Security card/number or alien registration card (if you are a permanent resident).

o Your income information (bank statements; a W-2 or pay stub, if you have a job; past tax return, if you filed).

o A parent, if you are younger than 24.

o Parents’ financial information (bank statements; W-2 or pay stub; most recent tax return).

o Parents’ Social Security numbers, if they have one.

o Financial information such as child support statements, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or welfare information; real estate, stock or bonds investments; family business or farm information.

Current and prospective college students who are applying for financial aid are invited to a free College Goal Washington event at Clark College at 11 a.m. Saturday.

o What: Anyone considering continuing education beyond high school can take part in College Goal Washington, workshops about financial aid and help in completing the 2015 Free Application for Federal Student Aid or the Washington Application for State Financial Aid. Staff and student volunteers from Washington State University Vancouver and Clark College will answer questions and help students and families complete aid forms. All presentations and assistance will be offered in English, Spanish and Russian.

o When: 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

o Where: Scarpelli Hall, Clark College, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver.

o Cost: Free.

Bring:

o Student Social Security card/number or alien registration card (if you are a permanent resident).

o Your income information (bank statements; a W-2 or pay stub, if you have a job; past tax return, if you filed).

o A parent, if you are younger than 24.

o Parents' financial information (bank statements; W-2 or pay stub; most recent tax return).

o Parents' Social Security numbers, if they have one.

o Financial information such as child support statements, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or welfare information; real estate, stock or bonds investments; family business or farm information.

Although the event is presented by both Clark College and Washington State University Vancouver, the event is open to anyone who is considering any continuing education beyond high school.

“It’s really important for students to file financial aid forms early because so many colleges and universities have priority processing deadlines,” said Karen Driscoll, director of financial aid at Clark College. “Money is given out on a first-come, first-served basis.”

Free Application for Federal Student Aid: fafsa.ed.gov

Washington Application for State Financial Aid: www.readysetgrad.org/college/state-financial-aid-dreamers

Clark College Financial Aid Office: 360-992-2153 or finaid@clark.edu

WSU Vancouver Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships: 360-546-9559 or finaid@vancouver.wsu.edu

Free Application for Federal Student Aid: fafsa.ed.gov

Washington Application for State Financial Aid: <a href="http://www.readysetgrad.org/college/state-financial-aid-dreamers">www.readysetgrad.org/college/state-financial-aid-dreamers</a>

Clark College Financial Aid Office: 360-992-2153 or <a href="mailto:finaid@clark.edu">finaid@clark.edu</a>

WSU Vancouver Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships: 360-546-9559 or <a href="mailto:finaid@vancouver.wsu.edu">finaid@vancouver.wsu.edu</a>

Although most people haven’t filed their 2014 taxes, families can make estimates to file the form as soon as possible, Driscoll said. Families should bring their most current tax returns. Students can use last year’s tax return to estimate current tax information and submit the FAFSA or WASFA, said Driscoll. When the family files its 2014 tax return, they can update and make corrections to the financial aid forms.

Students younger than 24 should bring a parent with them. All students 24 years of age and older are considered independent from their parents. The financial aid forms will help students younger than 24 determine whether they are considered dependent or independent. Only dependents need to file parent information.

It’s one of 60 College Goal events throughout the state in which financial aid experts and trained volunteers helping people apply for financial aid. There is no cost to attend. No preregistration is required.

College Goal Washington is part of a national program that helps students and families complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and the Washington Application for State Financial Aid.

The FAFSA is a required part of the federal financial aid application process.

Undocumented students

The WASFA, introduced last year, provides state funds to low-income, non-citizen students who meet the program’s eligibility and residency requirements.

“It is an important event,” said April Tovar, financial aid and scholarships manager at WSU Vancouver. “This year the event also includes help with the WASFA, the application for undocumented students to apply for the Washington State Need Grant,” she said.

The annual maximum State Need Grant award is $3,696 for community college students in Washington. The annual maximum at public four-year research institutions including Washington State University Vancouver is $10,868. View all the annual amounts in the state www.wsac.wa.gov/state-need-grant here.

Last year, Clark College had about 50 undocumented students who applied for and received the state need grant, said Driscoll.

The College Goal format has been tweaked this year. Last year’s event started with a keynote speaker.

“But what we found is people really want to get into those computer labs and start working on their FAFSA,” Driscoll said. “Students and their families can sit down at the computers and volunteers will help them access their application.”

There is a strong correlation between applying for financial aid and enrolling in college, according to the Washington Student Achievement Council, which is the lead agency in administering College Goal Washington.

Clark College and WSU Vancouver take turns hosting College Goal Washington. About 300 people attended last year’s College Goal event.

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