Educational leaders at Mid-Plains Community College gave a simple, but valuable piece of advice for high school seniors and college students today: Get in line early!
The “line” being referred to is filing the Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA) for federal and state financial assistance. The FAFSA application is used to determine eligibility for students to receive federal and state grants, federal work study and loans. Students who file before the end of February will be in the front of the line for federal funds, but also for the decreasing pool of grants through Nebraska Opportunity Grant (NOG).
“Last year students who filed the FAFSA after March 1 were less likely to receive NOG grants because the state’s pool of money is limited,” said Dale Brown, MPCC Financial Aid Director. “That is a big opportunity lost, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending upon the cost of tuition at a student’s chosen institution.”
NOG grants range from $100 to $3,948 based on students’ individual or family income and the cost of tuition at their chosen schools. Federal Pell grants range $575 per year to a maximum of $5,645.
MPCC Financial Aid Personnel have issued a FAFSA Challenge to all high school seniors and college students from Nebraska and Northwestern Kansas to file the form by February 28.
Kelly Rippen, Area Dean of Enrollment Management encourages every student considering college to “take advantage of the services and people in place to help you! This is new to many people and it can be overwhelming. We are here to help!”
Leaders from area educational institutions, including McCook Community College, Bellevue University, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Chadron State College, University of Nebraska and EducationQuest support the challenge. EducationQuest will be hosting Financial aid presentations at many schools in February as well as at their Kearney, Lincoln and Omaha offices.
MPCC personnel will also assist with electronic filing of the FAFSA. Students or parents are asked to bring 2013 income tax information or their 2012 tax return to aid in the filing process. Estimated figures can be used on the form if 2013 income tax information is unavailable.
Families who have already electronically filed the FAFSA with estimated figures for 2014-2015 and have completed 2013 taxes 10 or more days prior to the event can receive assistance with the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Process. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows access to tax information to transfer data directly to the FAFSA.