PHEAA Offers Free FAFSA® Completion Sessions Throughout Pennsylvania

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Visit PHEAA.org for schedule of FAFSA events

Harrisburg, PA (January 8, 2015)—The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), in partnership with the Pennsylvania Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (PASFAA), is offering free FAFSA® Completion Sessions throughout the Commonwealth through April. The sessions are designed to inform students and families about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), with hands-on access to guidance from PHEAA's Higher Education Access Partners and college financial aid administrators.

The FAFSA is the federal form that all students must submit to determine eligibility for most forms of need and income-based financial assistance, including the Pennsylvania State Grant, the Federal Pell Grant, the Pennsylvania Targeted Industry Program (PA-TIP), work-study programs, various scholarships - including the Ready to Succeed Scholarship Program - and federal student loans. Students should check with each school that they are considering to determine each school's FAFSA filing deadline.

A schedule of FAFSA Completion Sessions is available at PHEAA.org under College Planning - FAFSA.

"Submitting the FAFSA is the critical first step that students and families must take in order to be considered for almost all forms of student financial aid," said Representative William Adolph, PHEAA Board Chairman. "While the application may seem intimidating, especially for those who may be submitting it for the first time, it is not. To make the process easier, personalized assistance is available at one of PHEAA's FAFSA Completion Sessions."

To further assist with college planning, PHEAA developed MySmartBorrowing.org. This free online resource engages students and families to help them consider the many decisions that are necessary for their higher education success plan while avoiding the pitfalls of unnecessary student loan debt. MySmartBorrowing provides easy-to-use estimators that help users to determine their possible higher education costs at different schools, future salary expectations for a particular career, availability of employment opportunities, and their potential ability to repay student loans comfortably while also affording an independent lifestyle after graduation.

"Taking advantage of free resources such as MySmartBorrowing.org and PHEAA's FAFSA Completion Sessions can save students time and money as they pursue their higher education," said Senator Wayne D. Fontana, PHEAA Board Vice Chairman. "If additional help is needed, our FAFSA Completion Sessions provide hands-on assistance in submitting the application while explaining how to make the cost of higher education more manageable."

PHEAA has partnered with PASFAA since 2005 to help Pennsylvania families apply for student aid through FAFSA Completion Sessions throughout the Commonwealth.

"The purpose of financial aid is not to make every college exactly the same relative to cost, but to make the college of your choice as affordable as possible," said Joseph Alaimo, PASFAA President and Director of Financial Aid at LaSalle University. "It is important to submit the FAFSA to ensure that students receive all of the financial aid for which they may be qualify."

For information on the higher education financial aid process, schedules for upcoming FAFSA Completion Sessions, reminders of financial aid deadlines, and information pertaining to planning for higher education, students can join PHEAA on Facebook at Facebook.com/pheaa.aid. Additionally, video tutorials explaining the student aid process and types of aid available can be found at YouTube.com/PHEAAstudentAid.