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For prospective and current college students, a new year means it’s time to start thinking about applying for financial aid. Karen Koenig Griffin,EastCentralCollege’s financial aid director, says people should start gathering the information required for filing federal tax returns in order to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

 

“There is a new financial aid recommendation which encourages students to submit their tax information online from the IRS when submitting their FAFSA.  This means that students and parents need to do their taxes as early as possible or they won’t meet most college deadlines for scholarships and other aid. 

 

Usually it is best to wait until after the student, and parents in the case of a dependent student, have completed federal tax returns before submitting the FAFSA,” said Koenig Griffin. “When students submit the FAFSA based on estimated figures before the tax return has been completed, they have to go back later and download the actual tax information from the IRS which alleviates some of the burden.  That scenario increases the likelihood of being selected for verification by the Department of Education.” 

 

Koenig Griffin noted that students selected for verification must provide the college with an IRS tax transcript of their 2011 federal taxes, W-2s and a verification worksheet.  Dependent students must also submit the 2011 tax transcript of their parents 2011 federal taxes and W-2s.  Additional documents may also be required.  Students selected for verification cannot receive any type of financial aid until their information has been verified.

 

To help students and parents navigate the financial aid process, ECC will offer Tuesday night workshops starting in late February.  The free workshops are open to all members of the community, not just those planning to attend East Central. 

 

Financial aid staff from ECC will be available anytime between 5:30 and 7 p.m. at the main campus in Union in Room 103 of Buescher Hall and at ECC-Rolla (500 Forum Drive) in Room 117

 

       Workshop dates at both locations :

       February 21 and 28

       March 6, 13, 20 and 27

 

Families are encouraged to bring their 2011 taxes with them.  Prior to each FAFSA night in Union, ECC admissions personnel will be available from 5 to 5:30 p.m. in the same room for an overview of the college admissions process.  Those sessions will be useful no matter what college a student plans to apply to for next academic year.

 

Pre-registration is not required for any of the workshop sessions.  Individuals with questions should call 636-584-6588 or email:  finaid@eastcentral.edu .

 

Major Financial Aid Changes for 2012-13 Academic Year

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