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Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Trevon Wilson, right, along with his mother, Tammy, center, and sister, Sydnie, took advantage of College Goal Sunday at IPFW.

IPFW gives students aid filing for aid

Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Leah Smitley, 17, left, and her twin sister Victoria, seniors at Bellmont High School, filled out FAFSAs on Sunday at IPFW.

Vicki Beerbower was the first person through the doors at Neff Hall at IPFW Sunday afternoon to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid for her son, Peter.

It was all part of an event called College Goal Sunday, where students and their parents could get help filing the application.

No, Beerbower’s son won’t be getting any Pell Grants. In fact, he’s going to Ball State on an academic scholarship.

But you’ve still got to file what is called the FAFSA. She decided to file the application at IPFW “so I didn’t mess it up,” she said.

“They were really helpful.”

“Even if you do make a decent income” and don’t qualify for grants, students need to file the FAFSA to be eligible for many programs, said Jennifer Manns, one of the coordinators for the event.

“We do get a lot of people who say they’re not going to file because they don’t qualify for grants,” said Crystal Smith, another coordinator. “It’s the parents who don’t understand.”

While low- and moderate-income people qualify for grants, it’s a good idea for people with higher incomes to file a FAFSA anyway so they qualify for federal student loans, Smith said.

“Some colleges require FAFSA to get grants or athletic scholarships,” Smith said. “You need a FAFSA to get into work-study programs,” where students get jobs at the school they attend just to earn money.

Many parents, though, are a little intimidated by the thought of filling out the application, which requires them to provide information such as income, assets and the like, Smith said. It also can get complicated for some people, she said.

At College Goal Sunday, volunteers who are familiar with the process were on hand to help out, and the 120 or so students who showed up Sunday also became eligible for a door prize of sorts – a $1,000 scholarship.

Parents who showed up with their children at College Goal Sunday seemed to have a good grasp of its significance.

Carol Levy came early with her son, Joel, just to make sure that the application was filled out correctly and to be eligible for other sources for college costs for her son.

“My goal is, I hope I don’t have to borrow money from a financial institution,” said Levy, who would rather use federal student loans.

And like most other parents, Robert Sprinkle showed up with his son, Colton, so he could get help filling out the application if he needed it. He also said he’s wary of hackers.

He could have filled out the application at home, he said, but he felt the information might be a little more secure by doing it on the university’s computers.

“You put a lot of information out there” when you fill out the application, Sprinkle said.

The deadline for filing a FAFSA application is March 10. Students need to file the application each year.