College Goal Montana: Who needs to fill out the FAFSA? EVERYONE!
It’s almost time to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and Student Assistance Foundation (SAF) wants to remind Montana students and families that everyone who wants to attend college in the fall should get ready.
“All too often families opt out of completing the FAFSA,” said Rhonda Safford, who has coordinated the statewide College Goal Montana event for SAF for the past several years. “Sometimes they don’t know about it. Sometimes they don’t think they’ll qualify. However, in most cases, students who complete the FAFSA do qualify for some form of aid.”
In an effort to make completing the FAFSA easier for Montana residents than ever, SAF is taking College Goal Montana into the digital age. In November, SAF began posting videos on our SmartAboutCollege.org website that provide step-by-step instruction on how to get a FAFSA PIN and complete the FAFSA, section by section. The FAFSA for the 2013-14 academic year will be available at fafsa.ed.gov after Jan. 1, 2013. This form is the first step in applying for federal, state and campus-based aid like scholarships and grants, work-study opportunities, and student loans.
“FAFSA filers will be able to get detailed FAFSA completion instruction on SmartAboutCollege.org, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Safford said. “In addition, our knowledgeable staff is still available to help students should they require free, one-on-one assistance via our College Goal Montana hotline (877-COLG4ME) or by emailing [email protected].” She added that SAF’s campus outreach managers are also available to provide FAFSA completion help. Check SmartAboutCollege.org to find an office in your area.
For those school counselors and financial aid professionals who want to host a traditional College Goal Montana event in their community, SAF has developed a how-to handbook, complete with a timeline, sample flyers, press releases, reminder emails, media talking points and more. This free handbook is available for download on SmartAboutCollege.org. “Plus, SAF staff is here to answer any questions and offer support to help community organizers make the event in their community a success,” Safford said. “It’s our hope that more Montana students than ever before complete the FAFSA and access the financial aid they need to pursue postsecondary education.” For more information about College Goal Montana, contact Safford at [email protected], or (406) 495-7750.
In addition, “like” SAF on Facebook (www.facebook.com/StudentAssistanceFoundation) to receive reminders and tips about how to prepare for College Goal Montana and more. Also, subscribe to our YouTube Channel (SAFTube4U). Student Assistance Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Montana corporation that provides students with knowledge and tools to finance and pursue their postsecondary education. Funds generated by SAF are returned to Montanans in the form of education grants and public benefit programs – to date more than $25 million. For more information, visit www.safmt.org or www.SmartAboutCollege.org.
In order to complete the FAFSA, have the following items available:
• FAFSA PIN number — to get your pin, log on to www.pin.ed.gov
• Social Security numbers (students and parents)
• 2012 federal tax returns (or 2011 tax returns if 2012 are not complete)
• W-2s, tribal income, other aid information (TANF, child support, other benefits)
• Additional asset information (money market funds, stocks, other investments)