Many people were not aware, but this past week was declared North Carolina’s Financial Aid Awareness Week, proclaimed by Governor Pat McCrory. Most colleges mail admission decisions for the fall semester around March 1, and for many states, including North Carolina, the deadline to apply for federal financial aid also falls at the same time. There can be a lot of paperwork involved; therefore, the fourth Saturday in February has been deemed FAFSA Day in North Carolina.
FAFSA stands for “Free Application for Financial Student Aid.” All college students, regardless of their family’s income, are eligible to receive government aid. Families with larger incomes will obviously be eligible for less than students of lower-income families; however, you will not be eligible unless you fill out the form! In North Carolina, the priority deadline to file a FAFSA form is March 1. This does not mean you will be ineligible if you file on March 2; however, financial aid is available on a first-come first-serve basis, and the later you apply, the less the available funds.
For FAFSA Day, the College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) is teaming up with the State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) and the North Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NCASFAA) to help high school seniors and their families with the application. FAFSA Day will occur in all 100 counties at over 300 sites, including all 246 SECU branches, numerous college campuses, and even a few high school campuses. For a full list of available sites, visit CFNC’s FAFSA Day webpage, which supplies a state map.
Having had to complete numerous FAFSA forms in the past, I know the process is tedious. A huge time-saving task before starting on the application is for you and your parents to complete your taxes. There are about 100 questions to answer on a FAFSA form, and many of them involve information about your family’s household, your parents’ income, and about other dependent members of the household who are also attending college. Knowing this information beforehand will make the process much easier, but do not fret if you don’t have complete tax information. You can supply estimates with your initial FAFSA filing and then submit corrections once you and your parents’ taxes have been filed.
Every student going to a site on Saturday needs to have three items for preparation. One: each student AND one parent must have a Personal Identification Number from the Department of Education. Two: students should bring their and their parents’ federal 1040 tax forms. Three: students are recommended to fill out as much of their FAFSA on the Web worksheet as they can and bring it to the site. If you are unable to visit a site for FAFSA Day on Saturday, you can always meet with a high school counselor who offers college information. For college—and the rest of your adult life, too—you are going to fill out a lot of paperwork. The sooner you can complete it, the better!
He played clarinet for the Marching Tar Heels in 2005 and 2006. He also volunteered for STV, the student-run television station at UNC-Chapel Hill, in the spring of 2010. He shot video, wrote scripts, and acted for “Off the Cuff,” UNC’s longest running sketch comedy show. He has the rare distinction of having lived in a dorm all four years of his undergraduate college career. He was also on Franklin Street on the night of April 4, 2009. His future plans are to pursue a master’s degree in journalism and to one day work for the media as a sports journalist or broadcaster.
Being one of eight children, David realizes finance is an important topic to everyone, regardless of his/her knowledge of the subject. His interests are in personal finance, budgeting, and savings.
In his spare time, David enjoys watching sports and standup comedy, as well as doing crossword puzzles and writing in the first person. He also thoroughly enjoys trivia and, one day, hopes to participate on the game show Jeopardy!, where he will try to break Ken Jennings’ 74-game win streak.