College financial aid administrators and specialists will be available across North Carolina on Saturday, Feb. 22, to help high school seniors and families complete and submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms online. There will be free FAFSA Day programs in all 100 counties with most sites open from 9 a.m. until noon.
Completing the FAFSA form is required to be considered for all federal and most state financial aid for college, including scholarships and grants. This year’s statewide FAFSA Day is sponsored by College Foundation of North Carolina, the North Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and State Employees’ Credit Union.
Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. The more than 300 sites that are available include campus sites and State Employees’ Credit Union branches. The Credit Union can assist SECU members in any branch location; however, in counties where there are no campus sites, the Credit Union will serve members and non-members. A list of all locations and registration is available at CFNC.org/FAFSAday or by calling 866-866-CFNC toll-free.
To be fully prepared to complete the FAFSA on Feb. 22, participants should either file their 2013 federal taxes in advance or bring the following items: (a) both the student’s and parents’ federal 1040 tax forms for 2013 (or W-2 forms and other income and asset documents if completed tax forms are not available); (b) the student’s and one parent’s Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) obtained in advance from the U.S. Department of Education website, www.pin.ed.gov; and (c) a FAFSA on the Web Worksheet with as much information entered as possible. The online Worksheet is available at www.fafsa.gov.
“It’s important to complete the FAFSA early to take advantage of all of the financial aid opportunities available for North Carolinians,” said Marcia Weston, of the N.C. State Education Assistance Authority and CFNC coordinator of the FAFSA Day program. “Students and parents don’t need to worry if they aren’t sure how to answer all of the questions on the form. That’s why we have arranged to have experienced financial aid specialists to help at each FAFSA Day site.”
Weston also stated, “Filing 2013 federal taxes early really simplifies FAFSA completion. Those who file well in advance of FAFSA Day can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA form to transfer their tax information directly onto their FAFSA.”
She continued, “If a student or parent hasn’t yet filed taxes, they can estimate income information on the FAFSA, and then use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to submit FAFSA corrections at a later date.”
If students and parents have only a few questions on completing the FAFSA, they may want to take advantage of the FAFSA Phone-In offered every Tuesday in February. Financial aid specialists and experts at CFNC will be available to answer specific FAFSA questions on the toll-free number, 866-866-CFNC (2362), option 2, between 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Additional free college planning information is available at the College Foundation of North Carolina website, CFNC.org. Families can find career information, college cost estimators, scholarship, grant and loan listings, details on North Carolina’s 529 college savings plan, virtual tours of more than 100 of the state’s college campuses, online college-admission applications and student and educator made videos on the college process.
College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) is a free service of the State of North Carolina that helps students plan, apply, and pay for college. CFNC is a partnership of Pathways, the N.C. State Education Assistance Authority, and College Foundation, Inc.