FAFSA Completion: Information is a good start but action is necessary

Last week over 1,400 high school seniors and their parents received a letter jointly written by RVC and RPS 205. The letter and its contents were aimed at doing two things. It’s that time of year for seniors to ensure applications for college are completed including applying for financial aid and scholarships. The information provided included general tips for completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online, in addition to a call for action. 

Research indicates that 90% of students who complete FAFSA will enroll in postsecondary education. According to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), baseline data from 2011 indicated 56% of last year’s RPS 205 graduating seniors filed for financial aid. Our goal in providing information in addition to opportunities for receiving assistance with the FAFSA is to increase the amount of seniors who file to at least 75% of this year’s class. In addition, with the support of the high school counselors and Financial Aid department staff at RVC, we want this to occur by April 30, 2012. We know the sooner our students apply for financial aid, the better their chances of receiving aid – especially the MAP Grant provided by the state of Illinois which tends to be depleted early in the process. 

In case you didn’t receive the letter, here’s what it all boils down to:

  1. File your 2011 taxes as soon as possible; this includes parents’ taxes if the student is a dependent.
  2. Review the FAFSA completion worksheet which can be found here.
  3. Go here to apply for a personal identification number (PIN) so you can electronically sign your online FAFSA application.
  4. Complete FAFSA online listing RVC (and any other institutions) as an intended recipient of your information (Note: RVC’s school code is: 001747.)
  5. Respond to any and all requests from potential colleges regarding your financial aid to ensure your aid is secured in a timely and efficient manner.

Finally, it is important to note that applying for financial aid is not only for seniors in high school. There is only one application for all types of financial aid including grants and loans provided by federal and state governments. So, for anyone who would like additional information or assistance filing for FAFSA, please plan to attend one of the events listed below. They are free and open to all.

Wed., February 8, 2012, 6:00PM
Rock Valley College, Student Center Atrium
3301 N. Mulford Rd., Rockford or
Any Friday in February or March, 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM
Student Center 2nd Floor Computer Resource Lab

Tues., February 21, 2012, 6:30 – 8:30 PM or
Wed., February 22, 2012, 1:30 – 3:30 PM
RVC’s Learning & Opportunity Center
Stewart Square, 308 W. State St., Rockford

Sat., February 4, 2012, 10:30 AM – 3:30 PM or
Wed., March 7, 2012, 6:00 – 8:00 PM or
Thurs., March 8, 2012, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
RVC’s Stenstrom Center
4151 Samuelson Rd., Room 159, Rockford