High-school seniors should start filling out FAFSA forms

RALEIGH – With the start of the new year, high school seniors planning to attend college in the fall should begin the process of filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form.

The earlier the FAFSA is completed, the sooner the student and family will have information about the possibility of financial aid. To be considered for a share of the billions of dollars available in federal and state aid to students with financial need, you must apply.

When students complete the FAFSA, they’re automatically being considered for federal and state grants, Federal Work Study and Federal Student Loans. Federal and state grants are gift aid — free money the student does not have to pay back. If eligible for Federal Work Study, a student has the chance to get a job on-campus to help pay expenses. And the FAFSA helps determine whether a student may be eligible for subsidized as well as unsubsidized Federal Student Loans.

Families who would like help completing the FAFSA are invited to attend a FAFSA Day near them on Saturday, Feb. 20. This free event is open to assist high school seniors, their families and college students complete and submit their forms online.

Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Go to CFNC.org/FAFSAday or call 866-866-CFNC toll-free for a list of event sites and register for the one nearest you. More than 65 sites will be available the morning of Feb. 20.

A February FAFSA Phone-In, also sponsored by CFNC, is another option for students and parents who have only a few questions on completing the FAFSA. Every Tuesday night in February between 5 and 8 p.m., financial aid specialists will be available to help at the toll-free number, 866-866-CFNC (2362).

More information is available on college and career planning on the College Foundation of North Carolina website, CFNC.org. Families will find college cost estimators, lists of scholarship, grant and loan opportunities, information about North Carolina’s 529 college savings plan, career descriptions and requirements, virtual tours of more than 100 of the state’s college campuses, and online college admission and financial aid applications.

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