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Graphic by Maddy VanOrman / The Signpost

 

During a session on financial aid at the Weber State University Davis campus on Nov. 21, advisors told all students that whether they qualify for federal grants or not, they should fill out the Free Application for Federal Students Aid (FAFSA).

Federal student aid provides several types of financial help to students, including Pell grants, federal student loans and work study jobs. Millions of students receive more than $150 billion a year, according to the Office of Federal Student Aid.

Qualifications for the FAFSA are simple: Applicants need to be students, demonstrate financial need and, most importantly, fill out the FAFSA online. High school seniors, Weber State students and parents were walked through the process during the latest FAFSA Frenzy at WSU Davis Campus.

According to an article from The Standard Examiner, FAFSA Frenzy events began in response to the low percentage of applicants among Utah students. The events, hosted by WSU, provide a way for students and parents to receive assistance from advisors as they fill out the online application.

Andrea Curtis, the GEAR UP program director at WSU, encouraged students to fill out a new FAFSA for each year they attend college.

“What a lot of students don’t realize is that FAFSA is not just about grants,” Curtis said. “It’s about all student aid. Students need to complete FAFSA for many scholarships, as well.”

Scholarships are based on need, Curtis said, and students often think that if they don’t qualify for the FAFSA, then they won’t qualify for scholarships. That is not true.

Scholarships look at many other factors like GPA and student involvement, but to apply, students need to fill out their FAFSA, she said.

“It’s a good place to go to start the financial process of getting assistance in school,” Weber State student Nathan Probascao said after getting help at the FAFSA Frenzy.

This was the second FAFSA Frenzy that Probascao had attended, and he found the information he needed to correctly fill out his FAFSA.

The FAFSA has made a few changes to this year’s form. The opening submission date was changed to Oct. 1, an earlier date. This is slated to be the permanent submission date for the following years, as well.

The FAFSA also allows people to directly transfer their tax returns over from the IRS and to use the tax return from 2015 for 2017–18.

In previous years, those filling out the application had to either wait until the year had ended or partially fill it out and then finish it later once they had their income information for the year.

This means that students who filled out the FAFSA last year will be able to reuse the income information from last year on this year’s form.

“It’s a much easier process to manage,” Curtis said. “Everyone should do FAFSA.”

FAFSA Frenzy events are held the first Saturday of every month to help students or parents fill out the FAFSA step by step.

More information on the FAFSA or the next FAFSA Frenzy can be found on weber.edu or by calling The Office of Access and Diversity at 801-626- 7006.

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