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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Students, parents get FAFSA help”

    Students, parents get FAFSA help

    Next year’s incoming, as well as current students, took advantage of “”College Goal Sunday,”” a free statewide event sponsored by the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education.

    The event, which took place yesterday afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering building, is designed to help students and their parents fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid Application, said Eddie Arteaga, director of minority student recruitment and the associate director of admissions at the UA.

    The event focuses on minority, first-generation and low-income students, but is open to anyone who wants to apply for financial aid, he said.

    Seventy-eight percent of Arizona university students depend on some form of financial aid and nearly 30,000 UA students depend on some type of financial aid, according to the 2007 Student Financial Aid Report.

    Last year 56 percent of attendees reported being the first in their immediate families to pursue college, and 52 percent of the families had an annual income less than $40,000. Since 1997, almost 30,000 students and parents have been helped by this annual event, according to ACPE statistics.

    This is the fifth year the UA has held the event.

    Two information sessions took place in the lower level of AME, one in English and one in Spanish. The “”Line by Line,”” session broke-down the FAFSA, explaining jargon that may be confusing to a lot of students and parents, Arteaga said.

    Upstairs, counselors from the UA’s financial aid office offered one-on-one support for students and parents seated at computers, filling out the 2008-2009 FAFSA.

    Michelle Paz, pre-physiology freshmen said itís her second year attending “”College Goal Sunday.””

    Paz skipped the information session and headed upstairs to complete the FAFSA.

    “”I find it helpful because filling it all out is hard and my parents are low-income so the counselors really help,”” she said. “”I just want to make sure I do it right and having someone to look over it with me makes my life easier.””

    Emmanuel Dominguez, a Nogales resident, plans to attend the UA in the fall.

    He filled out the FAFSA at home and drove to Tucson with his mother to make sure his application was correct.

    Dominguez said the information session in Spanish helped his mother understand the tax section of the application.

    “”Since my parents pay taxes in Mexico, filling it out can be a little complicated,”” he said, adding that the event was not an inconvenience. “”It took longer for us to drive over here than it did to get this information.””

    Chanda Brown, an office specialist’s senior for the Office of Student Financial Aid and 2007 UA alumna, said outreach seminars such as College Bowl are an invaluable assistance to individual students.

    “”Personally, even after I spent six years filling it out, I was always getting it wrong,”” she said. “”Also, a lot of parents can’t come into our office during the regular business hours, so having it on a weekend, when they don’t have to worry about parking, is really helpful.””

    About 150 people attended the session, a slight increase from last year, Arteaga said. Attendees were asked to fill out surveys commenting on their experience.

    “”So far, the feedback has been favorable,”” he said. “”A lot of people find the one-one-one section with the counselors more helpful than the “”Line by Line”” session that explains the FAFSA because they get the opportunity to get those specific questions answered by an expert in the field.””

    “”College Goal Sunday”” was held at 27 locations throughout Arizona, including an event on Saturday in Maricopa County.

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