Webster University will host a “FAFSA Frenzy” this Saturday, Nov. 5, in Webster Hall from 1 – 4 p.m. FAFSA Frenzy events make applying for financial aid easier by providing students with free, on-site help to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
Current and prospective Webster students and members of the greater community are invited to attend the event. The Missouri Board of Higher Education reaches out to counseling departments at area high schools and Webster University provides the staffers and hosts.
This year, the federal government is allowing tax information from the prior years to be used on the FAFSA. Instead of being able to file the FAFSA as early as Jan. 1, students can now use earlier tax information and get the FAFSA completed early as Oct.1.
Vice President for Enrollment Management Robert Parrent said the new lead time gives families more time to submit applications to schools and view financial aid awards before spring.
“The purpose of this entire venture is to help students maximize their eligibility for aid at any institutions they elect to attend,” Parrent said.
Junior interactive digital media major Matthew Belleville completes the form with his father each year and was not aware of the new change in submission dates, or the eligibility of prior year tax information.
“That makes so much more sense,” Belleville said.
A college senior who may have a FAFSA deadline in March does not have to rely on their family to file the previous years’ taxes. Families will no longer have to scramble to file personal taxes in order to make these tight deadlines since the prior-prior year’s taxes (PPY) are already filed and eligible for the FAFSA.
Since Student Affairs has become part of Webster’s overall enrollment management division, there are now 122 staff members comprising the division. Staffers in Student Life, Admissions, Housing, Financial Aid and MCISA are part of the expanded team.
Director of Financial Aid Jim Price has been coordinating FAFSA events for over 20 years. This year, Price said there are six FAFSA events on campus from October to January, but only the Frenzy event on Nov. 5 is coordinated with the state.
“This is also for our current students here on campus. If they want a little extra help, or just want to make they’re doing it right, that’s why we’re here,” Price said. “The whole purpose is to take the fear out of financial aid.”
Junior psychology and media communications major Alex Kimbrough’s family also spearheads the yearly FAFSA process and have not approached him about getting the form submitted earlier this year.
“I don’t know if they know,” Kimbrough said. “My folks might know. I, personally, did not. So, I might just have to enlighten them.”
Volunteers at FAFSA Frenzy events held around the state helped 1,470 students file their Free Application for Federal Student Aid last year, according the Missouri Assoc. of Financial Aid Personnel (MASFAP). More than 600 volunteers assisted at 55 FAFSA Frenzy sites around Missouri.
“These events have been going on for some time. It’s an under-utilized service and our capacity is quite unlimited. We could easily accommodate 50 or so at any given time,” Parrent said.
Go to www.webster.edu/financialaid/fafsa-event.html to register for Saturday’s event.