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VSAC hosts workshops on filling out college financial aid forms

For more information on VSAC’s college planning resources, visit

Vermont Student Assistance Corp. will offer free workshops at more than 60 local high schools from early October through mid-December to help families fill out financial aid forms.

These informal workshops offer guidance on filling out the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and the Vermont grant application. The FAFSA is the basis for determining eligibility for federal Pell grants, the Vermont state grant, financial aid from the school that the student attends, and for student loans.

Students and parents also can ask questions and learn about the college financial aid process, including how to apply for scholarships. Internet access will be available and space is limited.

Students and parents should sign up for an FSA ID at prior to the workshop. The form takes about 10 minutes to complete and 1-3 days to verify and issue the ID from Federal Student Aid.

The following information is needed to complete the FAFSA and is needed for both students and parents:

• Social Security numbers

• FSA IDs to sign FAFSA electronically

• The names of the colleges that the student is applying to

• 2016 federal tax returns, including schedules, W-2s and K-1 form if applicable (Note: You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.)

• Information on any types of income from 2016, even if it is not reported on a tax return or you did not file taxes

• Current checking and savings account balances

• Home value and debt (if applicable)

• Farm value and debt (if applicable)

• Business value and debt (if applicable)

• Investment value (if applicable)

• Alien Registration Card (if not a U.S. citizen)

Students are also required to report income information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2018-19 FAFSA, students (and parents, as appropriate) must report their 2016 income information. These changes are intended to help students to receive earlier, more accurate financial aid awards and be able to make more timely final college choices.

Beginning with last year’s FAFSA, the U.S. Department of Education has offered an earlier filing option for students seeking financial aid. Students applying for financial aid for enrollment beginning after July 1, 2018, can file their FAFSA and Vermont Grant application as early as Oct. 1.

Dates and times for the workshops include:

• Bellows Falls Union High School, Oct. 5

• Brattleboro Union High School/Windham Regional Career Center, Oct. 17, two sessions: 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

• Leland & Gray Union High School, Oct. 19, two sessions: 3 and 6 p.m.

• Twin Valley Union High School, Nov. 14, 4 to 7 p.m.

Contact the high school in the event of unanticipated cancellations or postponements.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #427 (Wednesday, September 27, 2017).

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