Financial Aid Priority Deadline Quickly Approaching

Photo of a student filling out a form.

The priority deadline is nearing for students applying for financial aid at Southeast Missouri State University for the 2007-2008 academic year.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Feb. 2, 2007 – The priority deadline is nearing for students applying for financial aid at Southeast Missouri State University for the 2007-2008 academic year.

Southeast’s priority processing deadline for completing the 2007-2008 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is March 1 for both new and continuing Southeast students.Families are encouraged to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.ed.gov or complete the paper application and send it by U.S. Postal Service no later than Feb. 15 to meet the March 1 processing deadline, said Karen Walker, director of Financial Aid Services at Southeast.

Some financial aid has limited funding levels. By meeting the priority processing date, students will be considered for all federal, state and institutional aid for which they are eligible requiring the form.  Students completing the FAFSA after March 1 will still be considered for most federal grants and loans.

Missouri residents must have a FAFSA on file with the Department of Education by April 1 in order to be considered for Missouri state grants.  The state legislature is considering a new grant program and additional funding that, if approved, will increase the number of students in the state who will be eligible for this award.  By meeting Southeast’s priority date, students also will meet the state deadline.

Southeast also offers endowed and sponsored scholarships that require completion of the Endowed application by March 1.  This application is available at www.semo.edu/financing/scholarships.htm.

“Students who have their FAFSA processed by March 1 also will be considered for certain need-based grant, scholarship and work-study funds only available to students who meet this deadline,” Walker said.

“It’s important to note, though, that aid, such as most federal grant and loan programs, will continue to be offered to students who have their FAFSA processed after March 1,” she added.

To receive a financial aid package, students must first be admitted to Southeast.

To accelerate the process, the student and one parent should apply for a PIN number at www.pin.ed.gov. The PIN will serve as an electronic signature for the student and their parent when completing the FAFSA online.

Families seeking assistance with the application process are urged to attend the College Goal Sunday program at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11 in Glenn Auditorium of Dempster Hall.

College Goal Sunday is a statewide program designed to assist college-bound high school students in the completion and filing of important student financial aid documents. This is the fourth year for the program which invites students from throughout the state to attend one, two-hour long workshop from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11. Southeast is one of the sites for the program. The workshops are being held primarily on college campuses located throughout the state and will be staffed by financial aid experts from a variety of institutions. There is no charge for participation in the program.

Michael Smith, associate director for student financial aid at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Mindy Beckley-Hager, director of School Solutions at Student Capital Corporation, are the co-chairs of this year’s College Goal Sunday–Missouri program.

“One of the biggest roadblocks students encounter when exploring their eligibility for financial aid is the financial aid form itself,” Smith said. “Our program invites students as a group to spend a little time on one afternoon, and we walk them through the application process step-by-step. Once you get this form out of the way, the rest of the process is all down-hill,” he said.

The FAFSA, and is required by most educational institutions to determine eligibility for a wide range of grants, loans and scholarships. Students of all socioeconomic backgrounds are encouraged to complete the form, even if family income seems too high to qualify for federal assistance. Because this is a federal form, students and their families are encouraged to attend one the College Goal Sunday sites nearest to them to complete this form even if it’s not the school campus they plan to attend.

To participate, students are encouraged go to visit www.collegegoalmissouri.com. The online site contains basic information about college financial aid and provides information regarding specific program locations. The online information includes driving directions to College Goal Sunday sites and a list of what to bring that day.

 Other states sponsoring a College Goal Sunday program this year including Indiana, Hawaii, Arizona, and California. Illinois and Kansas will host sites for students at locations that border the Missouri state line. The event is sponsored nationally by the Lumina Foundation, and is cosponsored in Missouri by the Missouri Association of Student Financial Aid Personnel, the Missouri Department of Higher Education, the Missouri Higher Education Lending Authority, Mapping Your Future and individual media outlets throughout the state.

“We are sponsoring over 28 College Goal Sunday sessions in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and in outstate areas in central, northeast, northwest and southeast Missouri,” Smith said, but students from any high school in any part of the state are eligible to participate at no cost. They should go to our Web site to get specific information on the site closest to them.”

In addition to providing hands-on help with the FAFSA form, the College GoalSunday program underlines the importance of a college education and provides some sense of hope to students who feel that money is the biggest barrier to a college education.

“There is money out there,” says Beckley-Hager, “but you’ll never find it if you don’t ask. And you probably won’t get it if you don’t fill out the forms.”

For more information about College Goal Sunday at Southeast Missouri State University, contact Karen Walker, director of Financial Aid Services at Southeast, at (573) 651-2253.