DECATUR-- The year was 1988, the first year that then Governor, Jim Thompson, proclaimed February as FAAM (Financial Aid/Admissions Month) in Illinois. The purpose of the proclamation was to increase public awareness of financial aid programs and the college admission processes. This outreach endeavor endures today!
As part of the College Awareness and Preparation project, Illinois’ financial aid community is sponsoring a free financial aid workshop in Decatur on Saturday, February 23. The Illinois Student Assistance Commission, the Illinois Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and the Illinois Association for College Admissions Counseling are working together to provide the College Awareness and Preparation (CAP*) project as a means of improving students’ and families’ awareness of college financial aid opportunities, along with the college selection and admission process.
Students preparing to enroll in college this fall should begin the financial aid application process now. All students, from high school juniors to adults returning to college, as well as parents seeking help with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can receive individual assistance from financial aid professionals during any FAAM workshop. The FAFSA is available, free of charge, on the Internet at www.fafsa.ed.gov and in paper form at high schools, libraries, and colleges. Completing the FAFSA accurately and on time is the first and most important step to obtaining state and federal student aid.
The free CAP workshop will be held on Saturday, February 23, 2013, at Richland Community College Fairview Park Plaza Extension Center, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Fairview Park Plaza Extension Center is located at 1500 West King Street, Decatur, Illinois. This workshop is open to the public and free of charge. Reservations are not needed.
Financial aid professionals will be available to assist families with completing the FAFSA and answer related questions. Families should bring all completed or estimated 2012 income tax forms, along with any other asset information for students and parents, in order to complete the 2013-2014 FAFSA. To expedite the process, families should complete as much of the FAFSA as possible prior to attending the workshop.
A list of all free CAP workshops, including College Goal Sunday workshops (held on every Sunday in February), is available on ISAC’s Web site, www.collegezone.com, by clinking on Outreach. Additional information on how to plan, find, apply, and pay for a college education can always be obtained at the same site. Students and families may also call ISAC toll-free at 800-899-ISAD (4722) to speak with a College Zone counselor or to receive more information on CAP workshops.
The mission of the College Awareness and Preparation (CAP)* Committee is to provide the people of Illinois with practical, timely and accurate information on the college process. Its work will focus on improving student, family and community awareness of the wide range of college financial aid opportunities and more generally, the college selection and admission process. The Committee will make service and outreach to nontraditional, under-served, and under-represented population a particular emphasis of its work. *CAP is a cooperative effort of ILASFAA, IACAC, and ISAC.