College-bound Iowa students will find themselves with options when it comes to seeking out financial aid assistance this winter. Students and parents needing help with financial aid forms will find more options closer to home, due to the expansion of Iowa College Goal Sunday program to 54 locations in 38 communities throughout the state.
Volunteers for Iowa College Goal Sunday will help students and their families fill out and file the free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as part of a national program that helps students qualify for federal financial aid. The FAFSA, which is a free form available in paper and electronic formats from the U.S. Department of Education, is the first step in the qualification process.
"This program is great for anyone who has questions or wants free help with the FAFSA," said Jennifer Coffman, state coordinator of the 2014 Iowa College Goal Sunday. "It’s especially helpful for students who are low-income or are the first generation of their families to attend college, or both."
In 2014, Iowa College Goal Sunday will hold events over a two-month period. Beginning in February events will run through March 31 in Ames, Des Moines, Iowa Falls, Marshalltown — in the nearby area — plus a number of other cities and communities in Iowa. There is no cost for FAFSA assistance received at an Iowa College Goal Sunday location.
As a new site in 2014, East High School in Des Moines is expanding its ability to help students prepare both academically and financially for college by hosting two College Goal Sunday events.
"East High is proud to continue supporting our families," said Roxanne Kucharski, counselor at East High School. "We want to ensure that all of our students have completed the FAFSA."
The Iowa College Goal Sunday planning committee has secured specific dates for each site and is beginning its recruitment of volunteers to assist families at each event. "The success of the College Goal Sunday program is due, in large part, to the volunteers. In 2013, we had professionals from college financial aid offices, local banking institutions, and state and private education organizations represented in our volunteers," said Coffman. "Their knowledge and expertise made all the difference for the more than 700 families that received assistance and we’ll look to them again this year."
For more information, please visit the Iowa College Goal Sunday website, www.IowaCGS.org. Details are also available from the Iowa College Access Network by calling 877-272-4692 or e-mailing CGS@ICANsucceed.org.
The Iowa College Goal Sunday is part of the national College Goal SundaySM program, currently managed by USA Funds and held in 40 states and the District of Columbia. The program is funded by a grant through USA Funds and support from Consumer Credit of Des Moines and the Iowa Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (IASFAA).