INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Lumina Foundation and USA Funds® announce that USA Funds has assumed ownership of and administrative responsibility for College Goal Sunday(SM), a nationwide program that helps college-bound students and their families complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the form necessary to qualify for many student aid programs to pay college expenses.
USA Funds will provide support to organizations that coordinate College Goal Sunday events nationwide. Last year, 39 states and the District of Columbia conducted College Goal Sunday events, helping more than 39,000 students and parents complete and file the FAFSA.
College Goal Sunday events, typically conducted in January and February, bring together financial aid professionals and other volunteers who help students and parents complete the FAFSA, the application required to determine student eligibility for the key federal student aid programs, as well as for many state-sponsored and college-specific student aid programs. Despite significant improvements by the federal government in streamlining and simplifying the FAFSA, the form continues to pose a paperwork barrier to college access for some students, particularly those who are first in their families to attend college and those from economically disadvantaged households.
"As a nonprofit organization that works to promote preparation for, access to and success in higher education, and a longtime funder of College Goal Sunday, we look forward to the opportunity to help more families qualify for student aid for college," said Carl C. Dalstrom, USA Funds president and CEO. "During our initial year as College Goal Sunday national administrator, we will work closely with our partners at Lumina Foundation and the YMCA of the USA to ensure a smooth transition of the program. In future years, we plan initiatives to reach even more families with FAFSA-filing assistance."
Since 2002 USA Funds has provided grants totaling nearly $2.9 million to support College Goal Sunday programs in 13 states. USA Funds' support helped establish College Goal Sunday in several states, including Arizona, Hawaii, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi and Wyoming.
"Lumina Foundation has been pleased to be the primary sponsor of College Goal Sunday for many years, helping thousands of students and families achieve their college dreams in most states in the nation," said Jamie Merisotis, Lumina Foundation president and CEO. "We believe that the transfer of ownership and administrative responsibilities to USA Funds will help expand College Goal Sunday's capacities, thereby offering FAFSA-filing assistance to many more college-bound students. We also thank the YMCA of the USA, which has managed the program during the past three years, for its careful stewardship and its work to expand the reach of College Goal Sunday to underserved populations."
"I am excited about the next evolution of College Goal Sunday," said Neil Nicoll, president and CEO of YMCA of the USA. "USA Funds has been a long-term partner of the Y and College Goal Sunday. With its history and deep experience in college access services, USA Funds is well suited to improve and grow the program."
College Goal Sunday began in Indiana in 1989 as a joint project of the Indiana Student Financial Aid Association and the State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc.
For more information about College Goal Sunday and links to individual state College Goal Sunday program websites, visit www.collegegoalsundayusa.org.
Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis-based private foundation, is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college — especially 21st century students: low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners. Lumina's goal is to increase the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina pursues this goal in three ways: by identifying and supporting effective practice, through public policy advocacy, and by using our communications and convening power to build public will for change. For more information, log on to www.luminafoundation.org.
USA Funds® is a nonprofit corporation that works to enhance postsecondary education preparedness, access and success by providing and supporting financial and other valued services. Established in Indianapolis in 1960 to help families finance rising college costs, USA Funds has served more than 22 million students and parents, as well as thousands of educational institutions. During the past decade, USA Funds has provided more than $100 million in scholarships to low- to moderate-income students and in grants to nonprofit organizations to improve student access to and success in higher education. USA Funds also assists postsecondary institutions and their students with services, including financial literacy programs for college students, debt management and default prevention consultation and support, training for financial aid administrators, and student aid policy assistance. For more information, visit www.usafunds.org.
SOURCE USA Funds