Students get advice and tips for receiving college financial aid

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – College bound students across the state of Arkansas took advantage of the opportunity to participate in College Goal Sunday.

College Goal Sunday is a national volunteer program that provides free financial aid assistance to students and parents.

ASU financial aid director Terry Finney wants to ease part of the stress that comes with getting ready for college by helping high school students and parents make sense of the financial aid forms.

"(College Goal Sunday) goes on around the state. There are several colleges and universities around the state in fact around the nation that are having this day today," Finney said.

Financial aid administrators at Arkansas State University assisted students with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Arkansas Universal Scholarship Application from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Jonesboro High School senior Devonte Green already has an athletic scholarship, but wanted to participate in College Goal Sunday because he and his mother believe every little bit helps.

"Coach he was like 'get as much money for college as possible because you never know what you'll plan on doing in the future', so if I get this done, get the financial aid it's going to help more than my scholarship."

"It's a blessing to be able to come here and apply for things, help to go to school because a lot of people think they can't go because they don't have money, but they're making it possible for everybody to be able to go if they want to go," said Green's mom Tonya Harris.

College bound students are required to complete a FAFSA in order to be considered for federal aid, and the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship that is funded by the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery.

During the 2011-2012 school year the U.S. Department of education has received more than 18 million FAFSA forms, according to Finney said the way to for students to increase their chances for the "free money" is to make sure the form is correct, and get it in early. "You can't receive any of the federal programs whatever you're eligible for without filling out the FAFSA."

"If you haven't filled your FAFSA out, feel free to contact our office or the college financial aid office that you plan to attend talk to your high school counselor because they can help you."

The Arkansas Department of Higher Education, YMCA, Lumina Foundation and Arkansas Association of Student Aid Administrators sponsored Arkansas College Goal Sunday.

Click here to go the FAFSA web site.

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