Taking the first step in post-secondary education is often the most difficult one. College Goal Sunday, hosted by Fort Hays State University, is an event designed to help make that first step a little easier. CGS, from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 13, in Cody Commons in the lower level of the Memorial Union, will offer students and their parents one-on-one assistance filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
The event is open to everyone, regardless of which college or university they plan to attend.
"It is by no means only for Fort Hays State students," said Craig Karlin, director of the Student Financial Assistance Office. "It's by no means only for first-time incoming students. It can be for anybody who would like to come. Nobody will be turned away."
Even if students are not sure if they want to pursue a post-secondary education or if they will even need financial aid, filling out the FAFSA can open their eyes to their options of what financial aid they qualify for and can receive, said Karlin.
"Even if a student doesn't know if they need financial aid, it's always a good idea to fill it out," he said. You can always turn down the money later. It's kind of like the lottery. You have to play to win."
Karlin said that when applying for financial aid, the earlier, the better. CGS will help students kick-start that process.
"A lot of the aid that's out there is driven by who qualifies first. And a lot of that is driven by who applies first."
Every year, Karlin said, the U.S. Department of Education provides more than $100 billion in new aid to nearly 14 million post-secondary students and their families through these federal programs.
Students and parents can come and go anytime between 2 and 4 p.m. to meet with a financial aid professional at CGS. As a bonus for attending, a $500 scholarship will be given away at the event. The scholarship winner must be a first-semester freshman in the fall 2011 semester.
Students can also sign up for a CGS cell phone reminder by texting "CGS" to 25827.
For more information, go to www.collegegoal.org/, e-mail Karlin at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the FHSU Financial Assistance Office at 785-628-4436.