'Open to everyone'

Colorado College Goal Sunday to offer help filling out FAFSA

What to bring

To fill out the FAFSA, parents and students should bring:

• 2007 federal tax records, if filed

• Social Security numbers

• Drivers' licenses

• 2007 W-2 forms and other records of money earned

• 2007 untaxed income records, including Social Security benefits and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families

• 2007 bank statements

• 2007 business and investment mortgage information, business and farm records, stock, bond and other investment records

• Alien registration card (if not a U.S. citizen)

• FAFSA Personal Identification Number, available at www.pin.ed.gov>

If you go

What: Colorado College Goal Sunday

When: 2 to 4 p.m. Feb. 10

Where: Colorado Northwestern Community College Bell Tower building, 50 College Drive

Cost: Free

— Sending a child off to college is difficult enough without sorting through the past year's bank records and income tax forms, said Mary Anne Hunter, Colorado College Goal Sunday public relations coordinator.

Still, that's the process most parents and their college-age students must complete to receive federal and state aid, and some private loans and grants.

This process, encapsulated in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, measures the amount of money students and their parents make each year, thereby determining the students' eligibility for some types of financial aid.

For some, the application can be daunting.

"The process is really involved," Hunter said. "It really is very difficult for students and parents to fill out (the FAFSA) the first year."

Next month, she hopes to help change that.

The second annual Colorado College Goal Sunday is a statewide event that guides prospective and current college students through the FAFSA form online. On Feb. 10, its financial aid professionals will be available at the Colorado Northwestern Community College Bell Tower Building, 50 College Drive.

The free two-hour seminar will help students and their families complete electronic FAFSA forms before colleges begin requiring them in late February and early March.

Submitting the FAFSA is required for most students enrolling in higher education next fall and those who are already attending college.

Completing the FAFSA can be "really confusing," said Brittny Sivyer, CollegeInvest marketing assistant.

She speaks from experience.

Before she worked for CollegeInvest, a not-for-profit division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, she was a college student who had to complete the FAFSA every year.

She thinks College Goal Sunday helps reduce the stress usually associated with the FAFSA, she said.

The seminar will offer more than advice. Students who complete an exit survey will be eligible for a drawing for a $1,000 scholarship.

Although the seminar is geared primarily toward students from low-income families, they aren't the only ones invited.

"It's certainly open to everyone," Hunter said.

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