Low-income students and their parents confused by the federal applications for financial aid for college, need no longer struggle. Mark your calendars for Sunday, Jan. 31, 2009 (snow date Feb. 21, 2009), when NJIT once again opens its doors for College Goal Sunday. The event will be held from 1-4 p.m. in the second floor ballroom of NJIT’s Campus Center.
The free, day-long, public financial aid workshop is designed to help low-income high school seniors and their parents navigate the often confusing world of financial aid opportunities. Although walk-ins are welcome, advance registration is desirable. For more information, call Monique Paden Hutchinson, at (973) 596-3682. Hutchinson, who organized the event, is assistant director of NJIT’s Center for Pre-College Programs.
More than 300 students and parents are expected to attend the event. “Every year, we seem to draw more people,” said Ivon Nunez, director of student financial aid services at NJIT. “We’ve been so successful drawing crowds in the past, that we’ve been helping other colleges increase their numbers.”
First-generation students may especially benefit from the workshop which will offer two separate workshops – one conducted in English and one in Spanish. Computers will be available to anyone registering for a personal identification number to obtain the federal government’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Participants are urged to submit these forms online. Spanish-speaking administrators will be available to assist. Filing an online application is not the only way to submit the FAFSA, although it is the best way to receive the fastest response.
“It is important to reach out to this community of students who need help. Filing the FAFSA is a start towards making education accessible. Money, or the lack of it, should never prevent a student from attending college,” added Nunez. “There are many kinds of financial aid and many ways to finance a college education. All options will be discussed and explained.”
A panel of financial aid experts will be on hand to answer other questions, complete state forms, explain financial aid eligibility and ways to finance a college education. There will also be door prizes, including a scholarship raffle.
“College Goal Sunday is a terrific way to help families navigate the online system,” Hutchinson said. “The aid process can produce anxiety – college tuition is expensive – but we make it easy for parents and students.”