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Students attend financial aid workshop

Feb. 11, 2013 @ 12:12 AM

HUNTINGTON -- For Brandon Rollins, filling out a student financial aid form at home is an ordeal that takes two computers, one for filling out the form and a second computer for looking up information and terms on Google.

So the culinary student at Moutwest and Community Technical College headed over to Marshall University's Corbly Hall for College Goal Sunday, an event created to help students in filling out intimidating federal forms and let them get to know the folks in the financial aid office.

It's worth the trip, Rollins said.

"It's been very helpful -- a lot faster than when we did it ourselves," Rollins said. "I strongly recommend coming to these, strongly recommend. There's less hair-pulling."

College Goal Sunday workshops were offered throughout the state Sunday to help students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. It was offered in Huntington through the Financial $tability Partnership of the River Cities. Students who completed a FAFSA form were entered to win an iPad and other door prizes.

About halfway through the three-hour event, 87 people had already filled out their forms.

The process of filling out the FAFSA has been simplified over the years, said Angie Holley, state chairwoman of College Goal Sunday. It now can be done in 20 to 30 minutes, she said. But an event such as College Goal Sunday also helps raise awareness about financial aid opportunities and helps introduce students to people in the financial aid office early.

"It eases the intimidation of the college process and the financial aid process," Holley said.

More financial help

Financial $tability Partnership of the River Cities also will be joining the West Virginia Alliance for Sustainable Families to offer Financial Fitness Fridays. Meetings are the third Friday of the month at Huntington's Kitchen from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Participants will work with a coach to reach financial goals. Through games and activities, participants will learn to budget, save and make the most of their paychecks, as well as winning movie tickets and other prizes.

"Think of it as Weight Watchers for your wallet," Rachel Houston, assistant FSP coordinator, said in a release. "We want to this to be a fun experience. Creating and sticking to a budget doesn't have to be a chore. We want to encourage people to share tips and support each other. We will be using a Facebook page so we can continue to communicate thought the month."

To register, contact Rachel Houston at rachel.houston@unitedwayrivercities.org or 304-412-0640.

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