Governor Roy Cooper has signed a proclamation declaring Sunday, Oct. 22 – Saturday, Oct. 28 Financial Aid Awareness Week. During this week, students and families are encouraged to learn more about applying for financial aid. Financial Aid Awareness Week will end with FAFSA Day, on Sat. Oct. 28. FAFSA Day is a statewide, college-access event taking place at sites across North Carolina. During this free event, which runs from 9 a.m. to noon at most locations, students can get assistance filling out their FAFSA form from qualified financial aid administrators and financial aid specialists.
FAFSA Day is organized by College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC), the North Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU). Pre-registration is strongly encouraged; visit CFNC.org/FAFSADay or call 866-866-CFNC (2362) toll-free to find a location near you and register. Be sure to carefully check the time and date of the event, as it may differ between locations. Four sites will be offering FAFSA Day on an alternate date. These include Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (Oct.26), Winston-Salem State University (Nov. 4), North Carolina Central University (Nov. 4) and Mount Zion Baptist Church in Greensboro (Nov. 16).
Completing the FAFSA is the first step toward getting financial aid for college or career school. Many states and colleges use the FAFSA to determine students’ eligibility for state and school aid. Through FAFSA, students can gain access to their share of more than $120 billion in loans, grants and work-study funds. However, a student must complete and submit a FAFSA form to qualify for any of the money.
“The process of applying for financial aid can be overwhelming, but FAFSA Day is a great opportunity for students to get the help they need to succeed,” says Mary Lindsaye Boyd with CFNC. “Parents are also encouraged to attend the event and support their student through the process. We would love for all students who are looking to attend college next fall to visit CFNC.org/FAFSADay to find the campus nearest them, and join us for this event.”
Students should come prepared for FAFSA Day with the following:
Each student and one of their parents will need an Federal Student Aid Identification (FSA ID), which can be obtained at FSAID.ed.gov. FSA IDs can be obtained in advance. The student and parent need their FSA IDs to submit the FAFSA.
Students and parents should bring their 2016 tax information. Most participants are able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to get the necessary tax information, but if those tax forms are unavailable, having a 2016 1040 tax form or a W-2 will be helpful.
A parent and the student will need to sign the completed FAFSA form before submitting the form.
For more help on planning, applying and paying for college, students can always contact the CFNC Call Center at 1-800-866-CFNC (2362), from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. In addition, students can receive help completing their FAFSA from the State Employees’ Credit Union during the month of November. Schedule an appointment by calling your local SECU branch.
Once the FAFSA is completed, students and parents are encouraged to go ahead and go through the Residency Determination Service (RDS), new this year, at ncresidency.org. RDS requires much of the same information as the FAFSA and is an important component to financial aid because it determines eligibility for in-state tuition and state grants.
With helpful information such as lists of grant, scholarship and loan requirements, virtual campus tours and information on North Carolina’s 529 savings plan, CFNC is the state’s leading resource where students can get help planning, applying and paying for college. For more information, visit CFNC.org.
College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) is a free service of the State of North Carolina provided by a collaboration of Pathways (the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, the N.C. Community College System, the N.C. Independent Colleges and Universities, and The University of North Carolina System), the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority, and College Foundation, Inc. CFNC promotes access to North Carolina higher education and assists students with education planning, career planning, and applying and paying for college.
CFNC offers resources toll-free at 1-866-866-CFNC and at CFNC.org
State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) is a not-for-profit financial cooperative owned by its members. SECU has been providing employees of the State of North Carolina and their families with consumer financial services for 77 years. With more than 1.9 million members, SECU provides services through more than 250 branch offices, 1,100 ATMs, 24/7 Contact Centers and a website, www.ncsecu.org.