Ivy Tech Community College’s Logansport site is one of 40 locations where financial aid professionals will be volunteering from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25, to help collegebound students and their families open the door to financial aid.
The 2024 free College Goal Sunday program, which has been offered annually for more than 30 years, is of particular interest this year because of changes in the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA).
“The event on Feb. 25 takes on additional importance with only one College Goal Sunday opportunity this academic year,” said Bill Wozniak, co-chair of College Goal Sunday. “The delay in the new FAFSA from an Oct. 1 launch to a late December soft launch has made many families anxious about getting the form filed. We hope all Hoosiers take advantage of College Goal Sunday, file the FAFSA, and get one step closer to fulfilling their educational goals.”
Wozniak continued, “Students who don’t complete their financial aid paperwork properly and on time are often very disappointed when they find out how much financial aid they lost. This is why the Indiana Student Financial Aid Association continues to provide College Goal Sunday. If our assistance gives students a better chance at education beyond high school and less debt, we’re fulfilling our mission.”
The free College Goal Sunday program assists Indiana students in filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA form is required for students to be considered for federal and state grants, scholarships, and federal student loans at most colleges, universities, and vocational/technical schools nationwide. The FAFSA MUST be filed by the State of Indiana priority deadline of April 15 to guarantee state aid for those that qualify.
One of many reasons College Goal Sunday is so important is because many families perceive the form to be too complicated and time consuming to complete. In less than one afternoon during College Goal Sunday, students and their families can get free help and file the form.
“College Goal Sunday is a great opportunity to find the help you need to fill out your FAFSA,” said Darnell Ross, director of Financial Aid for Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Service Area. “Assistance also is available Mondays through Fridays in the Express Enrollment Centers at both our Kokomo and Logansport facilities. Students can call 1-888-489-5463 to make an appointment or just walk in and meet with our financial aid professionals.” Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Service Area covers Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, Pulaski and Tipton counties.
What students should bring
Students should attend College Goal Sunday with their parent(s) or guardian(s), and parent(s) should bring completed 2022 IRS 1040 tax returns, W-2 Forms and other 2022 income and benefits information. Students who worked should also bring their income information. Students 24 years of age or older may attend alone and bring their completed 2022 IRS 1040 tax return, W-2 Form or other 2022 income and benefits information. Students and parent(s) are encouraged to apply for their U.S. Department of Education FSA IDs at studentaid.gov before coming to the event.
Volunteers will walk through the online form line-by-line and answer families’ individual questions as needed. All sites offer FAFSA online capabilities, and many, including Ivy Tech Logansport campus, have Spanish interpreters. A complete list of sites, which include Indiana University Kokomo, is available at CollegeGoalSunday.org.
Students who attend may also win one of five $1,000 scholarships. Students who attend College Goal Sunday and submit a completed evaluation form will automatically be entered in a drawing for a $1,000 scholarship. The winners will be notified in spring and scholarships will be sent directly to the higher education institution selected by the winning students.
21st Century Scholars will also benefit from participating. These are income-eligible students who sign a contract in the seventh or eighth grade promising they will graduate from high school, meet grade point requirements, fulfill a pledge of good citizenship, and apply for college financial aid. Upon high school completion, Scholars who have fulfilled the commitment and demonstrate financial need receive state funds to help cover their college tuition and fees for up to eight semesters at eligible Indiana public colleges or an equal dollar amount at eligible Indiana private colleges. To fulfill their pledge, scholars must submit a completed FAFSA form on time, College Goal Sunday can help.
College Goal Sunday originated right here in Indiana and is now a national model. Following Indiana’s example, College Goal Sunday events organized by more than 34 states have opened doors to higher education for hundreds of thousands of students all over the country. Now in its 35th year, College Goal Sunday has helped more than 98,000 Indiana students and families complete the FAFSA properly and on time. College Goal Sunday is a charitable program of the Indiana Student Financial Aid Association (ISFAA).
“Indiana is first in the Midwest and fifth in the nation in providing need-based financial aid to Hoosier students. Each year, Hoosiers have access to over $400 million in state financial aid and billions of dollars in federal aid,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Chris Lowery.
“Increasing the number of FAFSA filings will lead to many Hoosiers realizing their higher education possibilities are more tangible than otherwise thought,” Lowery continued. “Not only is the FAFSA a huge step in unlocking potential career options and better outcomes for individuals, but it is also a key to strengthening our communities as a whole.”