Priority FAFSA deadline draws near

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The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) priority deadline is March 1; it is now time for students to start taking care of all financial aid for the fall 2009-2010 school year. With new awards available, completing fasfa deadlines is crucial.

Angie Beam, the interim financial aid director, mentioned new awards that could be available. The Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG), is given to the neediest students. The SEOG is worth $500 a year. There is also the Missouri Access Grant which is $2,150-$2,850; the Federal Work-Study program is up to $4,000 a year; and the Federal Pell Grant is worth $1,490.

“Students need to start right away to get all the aid available to them, as well as student loans,” Beam said.

Eighty-four percent of students get some form of financial aid, and this process takes six weeks. Financial aid is based off of family income and household size. If family income is less than $20,000 to $30,000, the student qualifies for the Federal Pell Grant. Some students, who are randomly selected by the government, have to go through a verification process before all aid goes through. This process is to make sure all information is correct.

The most common mistake students make when filling out FAFSA is claiming themselves on their taxes, and their parents claiming them as well. Although parents cannot claim them as dependents, students are required to use their parents’ information on their FAFSA.

“In high school, students get help from the counselors, teachers and parents,” Beam said. “They get pressured to get their financial aid done, now late fees become the pusher. ” When FAFSA is delayed, registration takes time. Late fees start to pile up and once they do, it costs more money.

Book vouchers also get delayed, which makes it harder for students, and they may have to pay out of pocket. With that said, students also need to make sure all documents are signed and dated before turning them in.
Now due to budgets and costs, students will be receiving all financial aid information through email.

Allie Humphrey, a financial aid office employee and a sophomore minoring in business, offered advice to her fellow students. “Complete FAFSA as early as possible and definitely before March 1,” Humphrey said.

Now is the time for all students to actually pay attention to the banners and borders around campus and plan on getting all financial aid in by the proper deadline.

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