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Clayton State hosting ‘FAFSA Day’

It teaches students how to avoid financial aid mistakes

The Clayton State University Office of Financial Aid will host a “FAFSA Day,” which is geared toward helping students learn how not to make costly mistakes when applying for financial aid.

FAFSA is short for “Free Application for Federal Student Aid.”

“FAFSA Day” will be held on Saturday, May 12, from 10 a.m., to 3 p.m., in room UC327 of the James M. Baker University Center on Clayton State’s main campus in Morrow. The event is free and open to the public.

Due to the economic downturn, more college students are relying of financial aid to reach their educational goals, according to John Shiffert, director of university relations at CSU. More students who need financial aid also find themselves without the help they need at the fee payment deadline, he said.

The reason, according to CSU’s Office of Financial Aid, is because students make costly, yet easy to correct, mistakes in the financial aid process. Mistakes such as:

• Failing to complete the FAFSA each academic year;

• Assuming that the FAFSA is all that is required;

• Failing to electronically sign the FAFSA with their PIN;

• Failing to complete Entrance Counseling as instructed;

• Assuming that financial aid will cover all costs;

• Taking courses not required for graduation;

• Borrowing more loan funds than they really need;

• Not planning for summer semester expenses, and not using the free scholarship search engines that are available.

“FAFSA Day is an opportunity to learn more about the financial aid process,” said Shiffert. “The common mistakes made therein, and other questions, like ‘What FAFSA applications are less likely to be chosen for verification?’ will be answered.”

Shiffert said the 2012/2013 FAFSA form is the key document for anyone planning to attend college during the 2012/2013 academic year. He said students must complete a FAFSA (or a renewal FAFSA form) to receive aid for the academic year that begins with fall semester 2012 — even if they are currently receiving financial aid.

“Although there is often a great deal of trepidation among students regarding FAFSA, the helpful staff in Financial Aid can provide any and all guidance needed,” Shiffert said.

Clayton State financial aid administrators will be available on FAFSA Day to help families complete, and electronically submit, their FAFSA forms. Representatives from the Clayton State Office of Recruitment and Admissions will also be available for campus tours and to assist students who wish to apply for admission to Clayton State University.

Shiffert said attendees should bring the following documents: Social Security number for student and spouse — if married — and parent(s) if dependent; driver’s license number of student (if any) and spouse; 2011 Federal Tax Form (1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, etc.) for student and spouse — if married — and parent(s) if dependent; 2011 W-2 Form(s) and other records of money earned for all tax filers; parents’ date of birth and date of marital status, if dependent; amount of untaxed income, including Veterans non-education benefits, child support, and worker’s compensation; current balance in checking and/or savings accounts for student and spouse — if married — and parent(s) if dependent; current worth of business and investments; alien registration or permanent resident card (if you are not a U.S. citizen).

Shiffert said, in addition, the Federal Department of Education strongly recommends that students use the IRS Data Retrieval option to download tax information directly to the FAFSA from the IRS. For more information on FAFSA Day, contact the Clayton State Financial Aid Office at FinancialAid@mail.clayton.edu.