College Goal Sunday on Feb. 10 at Casa Grande Center gives students chance for financial aid touchdown

By Tom Di Camillo

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. - Students needing financial aid can receive help from a national initiative called College Goal Sunday taking place on Sunday, Feb. 10, from 2-4 p.m. in Casa Grande.

The event is part of a national workshop designed to help students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and will be held at CAC' Casa Grande Center located at the intersection of Florence Boulevard and Trekell Road.

Computers and financial aid professionals will be available to help students, and their families, actually complete an online application that day. Spanish-language speakers also will be available to assist.

Students who participate in College Goal Sunday and complete the online survey following the event are eligible to win a Kindle Fire HD or a $1,000 dollar scholarship.

For more information on the College Goal Sunday program, check out the event's website at http://www.collegegoalsunday.com/.

Completing financial aid and student loan forms can be an obstacle more challenging than a defensive line, but Central Arizona College's financial aid staff has assembled the offensive coordinators to call the right plays.

And the best way to apply is over the Internet.

"Online is what we strongly encourage," Elisa Juarez, Central Arizona College's director of financial aid, explained. "College Goal Sunday is a terrific program where financial aid professionals help students and parents complete the federal student aid application process."

While there is plenty of funding for higher education available, even the most meticulous individuals can be intimidated by the mounds of paperwork.

"Federal aid funds are still available for the spring and summer semesters," Juarez explained. "It can be a tedious process, but once the data is received, the outcome is usually positive. We are here to help the students with that process."

Students are encouraged to contact Central Arizona College by email (finaid@centralaz.edu) or by phone (520-494-5425 / 800-237-9814 ext. 5429) for help in completing the forms. "We provide a lot of online counseling through email," Juarez said.

Financial aid and student loan options are federally assisted programs such as the Federal Pell Grant program, the Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, Federal Workstudy, the Federal Stafford Loan, and the Federal Plus Loan for parents.

Assistance is based upon financial need with all of the forms and guidelines available online (www.studentaid.ed.gov) or in paper form at any of CAC's locations in Pinal County.

If the financial aid forms are filled out correctly, funds are generally available within six weeks for an online submission. The funds then are dispersed directly into a student's billing account to cover fees.

If the financial aid allocation exceeds the cost due to the institution, then the student will receive the extra money to use for other educational expenses.

To avoid the common frustrations experienced when completing financial aid forms, make sure the following is available before getting started:

• Any income information
• Federal tax returns
• W-2 forms
• Social Security card
• CAC's Title IV School Code (007283)

Students applying for financial aid for 2013-14 must use their 2012 income information.

Central Arizona College - District Office 8470 N. Overfield Road, Coolidge, AZ 85128 Phone: 800-237-9814