Free assistance with college financial aid forms

ST. MARYS – Filling out financial aid forms for college can be nerve-wracking, but the Community Education Council is offering some help for college-bound students and parents who want to get it right the first time. Students from Elk County who will be attending college for the first time this year and their parents are invited to attend one of two free sessions held in the computer lab at the Community Education Council of Elk and Cameron Counties (CEC) in downtown St. Marys on Monday, Jan. 30. The first session will run from 2 to 4 p.m. and the second from 5 to 7 p.m. During the sessions, Marian Hargrave, regional director of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), will guide people in filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is used by the federal government, states and individual schools to determine the amount of financial assistance students may receive for higher education and must be submitted each year a student is attending a college, university or other qualifying form of education. This financial assistance includes grants, loans, work-study funds and many scholarships. CEC Executive Director Kris Kronenwetter said the class was designed to help alleviate some of the stress associated with filling out the form, which can be especially difficult the first time because it requires a large amount of financial and other relevant information. "We decided to do this a number of years ago and we had a lot of students coming in and they just didn't have a clue what to do about it, and it can be a daunting task to fill out the forms," Kronenwetter said. "We just felt it could be something that could benefit first-time college students especially. "This class is for students and parents because they have to fill out a lot of parent information." Due to the number of available computers, class size for the FAFSA sessions is limited. To register or for more information, contact the CEC at 781-3437 or 1-877-672-3667.Pick up a copy of the Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.