RALEIGH, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- College financial aid officers and specialists will be available across North Carolina on Saturday, February 23rd to help high school seniors and families complete and submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms online. There will be free FAFSA Day programs in all 100 counties with most sites open from 9:00 a.m. until noon.
Completing the FAFSA form is a requirement to be considered for all federal and most state financial aid for college, including scholarships and grants. This year's statewide FAFSA Day is sponsored by College Foundation of North Carolina, the North Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and State Employees' Credit Union.
Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. More than 300 sites will be available, including campus sites and State Employees' Credit Union branches. The Credit Union can assist SECU members in any of its branch locations; however, in counties where there are no campus sites, the Credit Union can serve members and non-members. A list of all locations and registration is available at CFNC.org/FAFSAday or by calling 866-866-CFNC toll-free.
To be fully prepared to complete the FAFSA on February 23rd, participants should either file their 2012 federal taxes in advance or bring the following items: both the student's and parents' federal 1040 tax forms for 2012 (or W-2 forms and other income and asset documents if completed tax forms are not available); the student's and one parent's Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) obtained in advance from the U.S. Department of Education website, www.pin.ed.gov; and a FAFSA on the Web Worksheet with as much information entered as possible. The online Worksheet is available at www.fafsa.gov.
"It's important to complete the FAFSA early to take advantage of all of the financial aid opportunities available for North Carolinians," said Robbie Schultz, of the N.C. State Education Assistance Authority and CFNC coordinator of the FAFSA Day program. "Students and parents don't need to worry if they aren't sure how to answer all of the questions on the form. That's why we have arranged to have experienced financial aid specialists available to help on FAFSA Day."
Schultz also stated, "Filing 2012 federal taxes early really simplifies FAFSA completion. Those who file well in advance of FAFSA Day can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA form to transfer their tax information directly onto their FAFSA."
He continued, "If a student or parent hasn't yet filed taxes, they can estimate income information on the FAFSA, and then use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to submit FAFSA corrections at a later date. See the video section on the Pay page at cfnc.org."
Another option for students and parents with a few questions on completing the FAFSA is the FAFSA Phone-In offered every Tuesday night in February. Financial aid specialists and experts will be available to answer specific FAFSA questions on the toll-free number, 866-866-CFNC (2362), between 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Additional free college planning information is available at the College Foundation of North Carolina website, CFNC.org. Families can find financial aid videos, college cost estimators, listings of scholarship, grant and loan opportunities, information about North Carolina's 529 college savings plan, career information, virtual tours of more than 100 of the state's college campuses and online college admission and financial aid applications.
College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) is a free service of the State of North Carolina that helps students plan, apply, and pay for college. CFNC is a partnership of Pathways, the N.C. State Education Assistance Authority, and College Foundation, Inc.
- Pathways, created by the N.C. General Assembly in 1999, is a state-wide initiative to increase the college-going rate of North Carolinians by providing: comprehensive college and career planning resources; electronic applications and transcripts accepted by all 110 North Carolina colleges and universities; and, information on student financial aid and college affordability. Pathways is administered by The University of North Carolina General Administration in collaboration with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, the N.C. Community College System, and the N.C. Independent Colleges and Universities.
- The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA), established in 1965, is the State agency that promotes access to higher education by administering financial aid and savings programs, informing students and families about paying for college, teaching educators about financial aid administration, and advocating for resources to support students.
- College Foundation, Inc. (CFI), administers a large portfolio of education loans, several major grant and scholarship programs for students attending N.C. colleges and universities, and the tax-free "529" college savings program on behalf of the N.C. State Education Assistance Authority. CFI also delivers information to North Carolina students and families about paying for college and provides technology services for CFNC.org.
- State Employees' Credit Union (SECU) is a not-for-profit financial cooperative owned by its members. SECU has been providing the employees of the State of North Carolina and their families with consumer financial services for 75 years. With close to 1.8 million members, SECU provides services through 245 branch offices, nearly 1,200 ATMs, 24/7 Contact Centers and a website, www.ncsecu.org.
CFNC offers resources toll-free at 1-866-866-CFNC and at CFNC.org.
SOURCE College Foundation, Inc.