INDIANAPOLIS — Students and families in Indiana will be able to get free assistance filling out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid during the virtual College Goal Sunday this weekend.
Students who are planning to continue their education beyond high school next year must submit the FAFSA by April 15 in order to be considered for federal and state grants, scholarships, and federal student loans at most colleges, universities, and vocational and technical schools nationwide.
Starting at 2 p.m. Sunday, the virtual event will give students and families an opportunity to get assistance filling out the application.
"It's always best to get the FAFSA done as fast as possible," Bill Wozniak co-chair of College Goal Sunday, said. "Indiana is not a derby where the aid is sort of first come first serve right on Oct. 1. So that's the good news. But sometimes the college have deadlines, Nov. 1, Dec. 1, and so you always want to get in front of that if at all possible."
This year's event is being moved to a virtual platform.
No registration is required. Students and families will just need to visit the event's website between 2-4 p.m. EDT and click the link to join the virtual event.
People are encouraged to use a computer or laptop for the event.
"For all these years, over 30 years, our events have been local," Wozniak said. "Our events have been at the local high school, or the local college, or what have you. They have been in-person. This year for the first time we had to go virtual so families can join us in a setting on the internet, on a platform, where they'll still get the exact help they've always received, it will just be online as opposed to sitting in the middle of a computer lab at a high school."
What you need to bring
Students attending the virtual event are encouraged to have their parents or guardians with them.
Here's what you'll want to make sure you have ready:
- Your parents' completed 2019 IRS 1040 tax returns, W-2 forms, and 2019 income and benefits information
- Students who worked last year should bring their income information
- Students 24-years-old or older can attend alone, but should bring their own completed 2019 IRS 1040 tax return, W-2 form, and 2019 income and benefits information
- Students and parents should apply for their U.S. Department of Education FSA IDs before the event. You can do that here.
Those who attend the event could win one of five $1,000 scholarships, according to a press release from College Goal Sunday.
Students who submit a completed evaluation form will automatically be entered into the drawing and the winners will be notified in April, according to the release. The money will be sent directly to the higher education institution selected by the students who win.
What to do after or if you can't attend the event
If you aren't able to attend Sunday's event or get the FAFSA done before the next College Goal Sunday event in February, Wozniak says students should make sure you have your W-2s and tax information available.
The date for the February event hasn't been announced yet.