College Goal Sunday is February 22. College-bound Indiana students and their families will visit 36 sites across the state to get help from financial aid experts in completing their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Two of those sites this Sunday are at George Washington Community High School and Northwest Community High School.
“The most important form to receive financial aid for college is the FAFSA. This form must be completed and filed by March 10th to be eligible for State of Indiana financial aid,” said Bill Wozniak, ISM College Planning, Media Coordinator for College Goal Sunday Indiana. “With the form being the cornerstone for financial aid, and some families not filing it because they are intimidated by it, you can see why College Goal Sunday is so important.”
Ann Kreicker, Community School Coordinator at George Washington Community High School (GWCHS), knows how important it is to their students and families. She and representatives from their Dollars for Scholars program go all out to draw in students and families.
- They run a countdown to the event to generate excitement.
- Lilly mentors get students set up with their FAFSA application PIN ahead of time.
- Kreicker does two-minute “commercials” for the upcoming event for seniors in the school.
- A FAFSA Friday event is offered as needed for those who can’t attend on Sunday.
- Volunteers and donors provide lunch for attendees.
- Indiana Latino Institute and La Plaza offer translation support.
- Dollars for Scholars offers a $1000 scholarship to a randomly selected George Washington student who attends the event.
All College Goal Sunday events are open to any students who are completing their FAFSA, but at George Washington they have a special connection with their students. They have helped recent GWCHS graduates with their financial aid in subsequent years. “We even have three recent graduates who come back to volunteer because they felt the event was so helpful to them,” said Kreicker.
What do students and families need to bring with them to College Goal Sunday? They can find that information here.
Elaine Yednak, a Financial Coach with the Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center, has helped at College Goal Sunday for over a decade. “Many GWCHS students are the first in their families to attend college. They can become very confused with completing the FAFSA for the first time. It is the goal of volunteers to help everyone complete the FAFSA, even if it is submitted with estimated tax data,” she said.
Judging from the responses of students and families, that goal is being met. “I am very excited about being able to attend College Goal Sunday at George Washington so that I can get proper help for the FAFSA,” said GWCHS senior Brooklynn A.
“My daughter graduated in 2012, and she has been going to College Goal Sunday for four years,” said Laurie Furrer, parent of George Washington alumnae. “The volunteers and faculty are really involved with helping Kahra receive grants and scholarships and helping her get financial aid. Having her do her FAFSA at George Washington takes a lot of pressure off me. It helps her get a better chance at financial aid.”
College Goal Sunday is an important step in making college affordable for many families. We’re proud that IPS can host this event at two sites, and that so many of our students can find this help so close at hand, empowering them to reach for their college hopes and dreams.