P O W E L L, W y o. - On Sunday, Feb. 10, Big Horn Basin high school seniors can get help filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), receive assistance with scholarship applications and essays, and possibly score a scholarship to boot at College Goal Sunday, held from 1-4 p.m. in the Mathematics and Science Building on campus.
All college-bound high school students are welcome, regardless of which college they plan to attend. To be eligible to receive any of the $5,000 in scholarships that will be given away, however, students must be accompanied by a parent.
"Our goal is to get students to college, not just Northwest College," said Beverly Bell, director of financial aid and scholarships at NWC. "Studies show that quality-of-life opportunities improve with educational advancement. People with college educations have more choices in life and many more opportunities, not to mention an overall increase in lifetime earnings of more than $1 million. We want our Big Horn Basin youth to have those opportunities. We'd love them to get started at Northwest, but we'll help them no matter where they go."
Bell said that for many college-bound students and their parents, the hardest thing about getting ready for college is filling out the FAFSA, which is required by most colleges and universities to apply for all types of financial aid and scholarships.
Rob Hill, the GEAR UP coordinator, is working with Bell on College Goal Sunday.
He said several volunteers will assist participants in completing the FAFSA online. Parents and students should bring with them their estimated or completed 2007 tax returns, W-2 forms and other pertinent 2007 income and benefits information (a 2006 tax return will work if 2007 forms aren't completed and income is similar to the 2007 year). If parents can't attend, students still need to bring the information listed above.
Participants who have Internet access are strongly encouraged to get a PIN number as soon as possible so they can bring it to the session. Parents and students each need separate PINs (electronic signatures used when completing the FAFSA online). The PINs also allow Internet access to a multitude of other college-related financial aid information.
During the afternoon, Northwest will give away five $500 scholarships and five $250 scholarships to NWC. In addition, $1,250 in scholarships funded by the Lumina Foundation will be given out and can be used at any accredited school in the nation. To be eligible for scholarships, students must be accompanied by a parent.
Students who are applying for these and other scholarships can receive coaching and information about scholarships and other financial aid programs. NWC volunteers will be on hand to assist students in writing essays to go along with their college applications. Snacks and door prizes are also part of the event.
College Goal Sunday 2008 at Northwest College is part of a statewide event made possible by a grant from the Lumina Foundation for Education, the third largest private philanthropic organization in the country, in association with USA Funds, one of the nation's leading education loan guarantors.
For more information about College Goal Sunday, e-mail Bev Bell or call (307) 754-6232 or toll free (800) 560-4692, ext. 6232. Information can also be obtained by e-mailing Robert Hill or calling (307) 754-7822.