News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 25, 2013

Prospective students take part in College Goal Sunday

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — With her mother by her side, Patricia Koch used a computer to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid during College Goal Sunday at Ivy Tech Community College, south of Terre Haute.

Koch, a senior at Terre Haute North Vigo High School, plans to enroll at Ivy Tech to become an X-ray technician. “She wanted to do this so she knew the basis of how much she could get if we are accepted for any kind of [financial] aid,” her mother, Angela Koch, said Sunday.

“They are really helpful here with any questions that we have,” Angela Koch added.

The two were among about 150 people who filled out 60 to 70 FAFSA applications during the two-hour College Goal Sunday, said Julie Wonderlin, director of financial aid at Ivy Tech Community College.

The college provided more than 200 computers, along with more than 20 volunteers from all higher educational institutions in Vigo County, including Indiana State University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and Harrison College.

“It is open for all educational institutions,” Wonderlin said. “Indiana was the first state to have a College [Goal] Sunday to help students fill out the FAFSA.” The program is now in its 24th year, Wonderlin said.

The application is used to obtain financial aid, such as a federal Pell grant from the U.S. Department of Education. “This is the starting point for everything in financial aid, so everybody needs to do this,” Wonderlin said.

“We also wanted [applicants] to meet the March 10 FAFSA deadline for the state of Indiana, which will then consider applicants for state awards such as 21st Century Scholars,” which provides assistance to low-income Hoosiers, Wonderlin said.

Universities and colleges nationwide have individual and varying deadlines for FAFSA applications, Wonderlin said. “The earlier you do the FAFSA, the better chance that you have of getting more money at the schools. The schools will award to those who have filed first,” she said.

Applicants must fill in family/individual tax information. The time to fill out a FAFSA has been shortened because the Internal Revenue Service now offers a link to download tax information. “That was new last year,” Wonderlin said.

For help with FAFSA, call 1-800-433-3243 or visit www.fafsa.gov. Find more details about eligibility criteria at StudentAid.gov/

eligibility.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.

greninger@tribstar.com.