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College Financial Aid Help Offered

<br>Families can receive individual guidance from financial aid experts


Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is offering free FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Completion Sessions across the Commonwealth to assist families with students planning to attend college during the 2012-13 academic year. These sessions will be held during the month of April.

The FAFSA is the federal form that all families must submit to determine eligibility for almost all forms of need-based financial assistance, including the Pennsylvania State Grant, the Federal Pell Grant, work-study programs, many scholarships and school-based aid, and low cost federal student loans.

"The only way to qualify for most federal and state-sponsored financial assistance is to complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid," advises Representative William Adolph, PHEAA Board Chairman. "With many families struggling to find ways to pay for higher education, it is more important than ever for them to reduce their out-of-pocket expenses as much as possible."

PHEAA offers the free FAFSA Sessions in partnership with the Pennsylvania Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (PASFAA). A schedule of upcoming FAFSA Completion Sessions is available at pheaa.org/college-planning/fafsa/help-events.shtml and will be updated as additional locations are confirmed.

PHEAA's Higher Education Access Partners and PASFAA's Financial Aid Administrators will conduct the sessions and offer guidance in completing the FAFSA. Families and college-bound students will have the opportunity to ask questions about the FAFSA, or about financial aid in general pertaining to their individual circumstances.

"Many families just don't know where to begin when it comes to applying for financial assistance for college," said Senator Wayne D. Fontana, PHEAA Board Vice Chairman. "They should know that there is free help available and we encourage them to take advantage of it."

If a FAFSA Completion Event site has computers with Internet access, presenters can help individual families complete the FAFSA online while they attend the session. Independent students will only use only their personal documents and records, while dependent students and their parents will need to have the following documents available:

Social Security Numbers
Driver's license numbers
2011 W-2 forms and 2011 Federal Income Tax returns
Alien registration numbers or permanent residence cards (if not U.S. citizens)
2011 untaxed income records (welfare, veteran's benefits, Social Security, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)
Current bank statements and records of stocks, bonds and other investments
Business or farm records, if applicable
Families can also access frequently asked questions, overviews, preparation worksheets, and links to the online application at PHEAA.org/FAFSA.

PHEAA's Higher Education Access Partners are also featured in several easy-to-understand videos that help explain the FAFSA preparation, application and submission process. These videos are available 24/7 on PHEAA's YouTube channel at youtube.com/pheaaStudentAid.

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