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In order to help high school seniors and their parents get a better idea of what college financial aid options are available, the Department of Education and CollegeWeekLive, a college admission website, are holding free federal student aid seminars online Friday for a Federal Student Aid Day.

Three different video presentations made by representatives from the department’s Office of Federal Aid will be broadcast live on the admissions website from noon to 6 p.m. Friday. The presentations will cover how to fill out and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, what types of federal loans are available to families and how these loans and grants can be obtained. Viewers will be able to send questions via text message for the speakers during the broadcast.

Additionally, the Office of Federal Student Aid will be on hand to answer questions via text, chat and phone until midnight in a virtual booth on the website.

CollegeLive hosted similar study aid seminars with the DOE in March. The partnership between the two has existed for a year, according to CollegeLive spokesperson Alice Dubois.  

“In these economic times, we want to provide families with access to the information and experts they need to maximize their financial aid for college,” Robert Rosenbloom, CEO of PlatformQ, the producer of CollegeWeekLive, told MainStreet.

Participation in the event, aptly named Federal Student Aid Day, is free, but attendees are encouraged to register prior to the events. Interested participants can check here for the full schedule of offerings.
FAFSA submissions for the 2011-2012 school year must be turned in by June 30, 2011. You can download the forms from the Office of Federal Aid.

To help you get started on the process, here are some tips from an earlier MainStreet article by Bobbi Dempsey that covers the basics:

  • Get Your Pin. Your pin allows you to access the initial application, make corrections to it over time, view or print your completed forms and check the status of your FAFSA once it has been submitted.  Students and parents each need their own PIN to submit the FAFSA electronically. Iit takes a few days for PINs to be processed so you should get yours as soon as possible here.
  • Get all the necessary paperwork together. Beyond the basic application forms, students need to provide the office with information on their (and their parents’, if they are dependents) income and assets. Typically, students need tax forms, documentation of untaxed income such as child support or government benefits, business and mortgage records and bank statements. Until  this year’s tax returns have been completed, prospective students and their parents can use their final pay stub from 2010 to determine yearly income.
  • Estimate your Expected Family Contribution. The Expected Family Contribution, or EFC, is used by the government and schools to determine an applicant’s financial need. Those interested in learning how much they may get should use the FAFSA4caster located on the Office of Federal Aid’s website.

What is the job market like to for students on campus this year? Check out this MainStreet article to find out.

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