College Goal Sunday helps students with FAFSA

College Goal Sunday provided Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) help for students and parents on Sunday, Feb. 21 in Corbly Hall.

Students could either pre-register for the event or walk-in anytime during the event, which took place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. There were over 20 locations for College Goal Sunday set up around the state.

Director of the Heart of Appalachia Talent Search program at Marshall University Angela Holley said College Goal Sunday is a statewide initiative designed to assist families with completing the FAFSA.

“The idea is to kind of help ease people’s anxieties, bring them into an environment where there are individuals that can answer some of the really tough questions that we encounter with financial aid,” Holley said.

Holley said the event is for anyone who is interested in entering college, whether that be high school students, college students or adults.

Holley said once students are registered for College Goal Sunday they are then taken to a computer lab where volunteers can help them either fill out the FAFSA or help them with some general information about the FAFSA.

Wayne High School junior, Matthew Moore, said he came to College Goal Sunday to get help with college and learn all about the FAFSA. Moore said except for one short presentation on the FAFSA at his high school, he had not really gotten that much information about it.

Moore said he is looking for the FAFSA to help him with college finances. Moore said he is planning to come to Marshall University to study technology and he wants to be a U.S. Marshal in the future.

Mountwest Community and Technical College student and health sciences major, Danielle Ferry, said she was planning to learn what all the FAFSA has to offer at College Goal Sunday.

Danielle Ferry said she graduated high school a semester early and has now gone an entire semester of college without a FAFSA filled out yet.

Danielle Ferry’s mother Toni Ferry said she came to College Goal Sunday to get the financial aid completed for her daughter’s college.

“I tried to do the FAFSA myself and it’s too hard, so I just come here and do it,” Toni Ferry said. “It’s a lot easier to have them help me.”

Holley said there is a survey College Goal Sunday does every year and that the event has a very good success rate with families.

College Goal Sunday volunteer and coordinator of research and evaluation for the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, Vanessa Keadle, was working with the surveys. Keadle said once the families and students got help with the FAFSA they came to her to fill out a survey online about their experience.

“I came here today to volunteer because I used to work at Marshall University, so I like coming back and helping students in this area,” Keadle said.

Keadle said at the HEPC they have a goal of 60 percent of high school seniors completing the FAFSA because it is a college-going indicator.

“So we want students to fill out the FAFSA, we want them to get free money for college, we want them to have a great experience getting help that they need from experts and so that’s why I’m here,” Keadle said.

Holley said if students are on the PROMISE Scholarship or want to be eligible for state grant aid it is important to fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible so they meet the deadlines.

Amanda Gibson can be contacted at [email protected].