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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

New forum demystifies FAFSA

ASUA and the UA Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid have partnered to sponsor free financial aid forums for students, to provide more access to alternative means of financial aid.

“”The more requests the Arizona Legislature sees for FAFSA forms and for financial aid, the more they see that it is an issue for students paying for college,”” said Associated Students of the University of Arizona Sen. Chad Travis at an ASUA Senate meeting on Oct. 27.

The idea for the financial aid forums started last year as collaboration between ASUA and the financial aid office, according to Rebekah H. Salcedo, student scholarship services coordinator at the UA Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.

“”There’s a lot of students that think they can’t apply for financial aid because of their financial situation, but they never applied or even filled out their FAFSA form,”” said ASUA Sen. Mary Myles.

Myles became involved in the project last year after then-ASUA President Chris Nagata and Arizona Students’ Association members visited the UA Freshman Class Council, of which Myles was a member.

This semester, the financial aid workshops will focus on helping students fill out scholarship and FAFSA forms.

Fliers for free financial workshops advertised the free forums, and started to aid students in filling out their financial aid forms such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Myles added, “”So much financial aid is wasted at the end of the year”” and starting the forums earlier into the school year this time should help alleviate that waste.

Strong student attendance last year encouraged the financial aid office to hold similar forums this year. Salcedo, noted the forums’ importance in serving “”as a way to remind students to fill out their FAFSA before the March 1 priority deadline.””  

Salcedo’s office will also present more information to students about the new Scholarship Universe program, which began Nov. 1. Scholarship Universe is based on data from UAccess and helps students find scholarships they are eligible for.

Scholarship Universe, in the second year of its three-year pilot program, receives student services fee money collected out of student tuition

every year.

The up to $40 fee mandated in 2008 by the Arizona Board of Regents allocates money to several different venues, such as health, safety, counseling, student employment and varied food options. Fifteen percent of fee revenue is allocated to need-based student financial aid. Scholarship Universe costs eight cents per student, according to Salcedo.

“”(Students) should go simply to learn about it,”” Myles said. Faculty members and staff from the financial aid office will be present to answer questions and help students help themselves.

“”There’s a difference between an administrator sending an email, telling you to fill out your FAFSA form, and your roommate saying, ‘Hey, I just filled out my FAFSA form. Let’s go through yours together,'”” Salcedo said.

 

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