Get Help With FAFSA Applications at WCC
Spring—that time of year when financially strapped college students apply for scholarships and government grants for the upcoming semesters. For most, filling out the required paperwork is a stressful ordeal. Smart students get help from WCC’s financial aid experts on “FAFSA Fridays,” special days set aside for one-on-one assistance with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid online form—the first step in qualifying for most financial assistance programs.
“We developed FAFSA Fridays because we were seeing a lot of students who needed assistance filling out their paperwork, as well as students late into the fall when it was crunch time,” said Carrie McCrory, financial aid coordinator. “This is a way of assisting them individually away from our busy counter.”
“We hold the sessions in a dedicated room with computers so they can fill out the FAFSA right there whether they need our help or not,” said Bayyinah Ballard, assistant director of financial aid. “Being in a room just for that purpose provides a greater measure of comfort because everyone’s there for the same reason. I think that people have trouble filling out the form because it looks intimidating. It doesn’t look user friendly, but it actually is.”
“Some of our students have trouble because they don’t keep a copy of their tax form,” said McCrory. “Maybe they filed it electronically and forgot to print out a paper copy first. So the later they wait to do their FAFSA, the harder it is to get ahold of the IRS, which takes 10-14 days to provide a paper transcript to use in filling out the FAFSA. Students who don’t file taxes and don’t have a 1040 also have a hard time with the form.”
The FAFSA Friday sessions are held in two-hour blocks, and students can come and go any time throughout the period. Some people will speed through the form, while others will need individualized help. The sessions are free and open to WCC students, WCC student hopefuls, and anyone else seeking help filling out the FAFSA form. Most will complete it online, but paper copies are also available upon request.
The deadline for having your FAFSA paperwork processed for Spring/Summer 2010 Semester is April 26. You must meet this deadline to be eligible for tuition and book money before the semester starts on May 10.
“We offer three to four sessions before the start of every semester,” said McCrory. “Though the ones coming up are for our spring students, we’ll have many students filling out their forms for the 2010-2011 academic year.”
“FAFSA Friday is the first step toward the end of the road in the financial aid process,” said Ballard. “Students can come with their parents or they can come by themselves. We can answer questions about dependency status and just about anything else that has to do with the FAFSA form. We’re here to help.”
FAFSA Fridays are being held March 26, April 9, April 23, and May 7 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm in room 126 of the Morris Lawrence building. To reserve a seat, contact the WCC Financial Aid office at 734-973-3523.