JOPLIN, Mo. —
Southwest Missouri students will have four chances this spring to get help filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Financial Aid, or FAFSA, an important first step in applying for financial aid for college.
Missouri’s FAFSA Frenzy, sponsored annually by the state Department of Higher Education, has expanded to 81 events in 44 counties throughout January, February and March, during which professional assistance with filling out the form is provided for free.
Locally, students can attend events from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, at Lamar High School, 503 Maple St.; Nevada High School, 800 W. Hickory St.; and Sarcoxie High School, 101 S. 17th St. A fourth event is planned from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 2, at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin.
Students and their families can receive help at any location, no matter where a student attends high school or plans to go to college.
Participants are asked to bring:
• 2013 W-2 forms.
• Copies of their 2013 tax forms, if they are ready. If students or their parents have not yet filed 2013 returns, they should bring any statements of interest earned in 2013, any 1099 forms and any other forms required to complete their tax returns. This will allow students and their parents to submit the FAFSA online during the event. Once tax returns are filed, students can then submit corrections to their FAFSA.
• Student PIN and parent PIN. Students and parents may apply for PINs at pin.ed.gov before attending a FAFSA Frenzy event.
Students who attend a FAFSA Frenzy event will be entered into a statewide drawing to win a scholarship that can be used for enrollment in a Missouri higher education program for the fall 2014 term. Scholarship funds will be provided by the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority and the Missouri Association of Student Financial Aid Personnel.
Students must fill out a FAFSA every year to be eligible for most types of federal and state financial aid, including grants, loans and scholarships. Many colleges and universities also use the application to determine eligibility for their financial assistance and scholarship programs.
The FAFSA should be completed as early as possible. April 1 is the deadline to qualify for the state’s Access Missouri grant program, while most colleges and universities have earlier financial aid deadlines.
IN 2013, more than 1,400 students participated in 57 FAFSA Frenzy events across the state. In the past decade, more than 10,000 Missouri students received assistance during the events.