The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

February 10, 2014

Families get aid on College Goal Sunday

JEFFERSON — Local families gathered with ACCESS counselors Sunday to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid during College Goal Sunday.

ACCESS (Ashtabula County Continued Education Support Services) hosted the only College Goal Sunday event in the county at the Ashtabula Technical and Career Campus (A-Tech).

College Goal Sunday is a nationwide event intended to help college-bound students and their families understand and complete the FAFSA. ACCESS Executive Director Paula Ghiz said 10 of 14 pre-registered families, as well as seven walk-in families, braved the elements to attend.

“The weather probably deterred a lot of people, but at the same time the numbers have been pretty consistent with the past couple of years,” she said.

During the event, families are set up on computers to fill out the FAFSA online with help from ACCESS counselors, she said. The event is held annually in early February in order to meet the deadlines of many state colleges and universities.

“I think for the most part, people appreciate the help. One family that attended, the son is a senior in college, and the mom just wanted the reassurance that she was doing everything right,” Ghiz said.

She said the FAFSA meetings hosted by the local high schools haven’t been as well-attended as they should be, and the FAFSA is “too important to not complete.” She said families can still get help completing the form by contacting the ACCESS office, reaching out to ACCESS counselors within their child’s high school, or by attending Kent Ashtabula’s FAFSA Fridays workshops.

“The process has been made simpler with it being online. It has skip logic so if you answer a question a certain way, it skips some of the questions to make it faster and easier for people to do,” Ghiz said.

“Students who are college-bound need to fill out the FAFSA even if they don’t think they’ll qualify for federal or state aid,” she said. “A lot of schools are now using the info from the FAFSA to determine how they give out institution aid also.”

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