More than 900 Rio Grande Valley students and parents took advantage of the free financial assistance and information provided at The University of Texas-Pan American's 11th Annual Financial Aid Fair Thursday, March 6 at the Student Union.
The fair - sponsored by Student Financial Services - offered a variety of information booths featuring UTPA organizations and local financial and lending institutions - Inter National Bank of Commerce, CoSTEP, Bank of America, Frost Bank, Wells Fargo and others.
"The goal of the fair is to assist incoming and returning students fill out their financial aid applications and also receive some assistance in preparing their taxes," said William Morley, coordinator of the event and UTPA college work-study coordinator.
Morley said the fair provided assistance labs stocked with Student Financial Services representatives, who helped students and parents fill out their 2003-2004 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms.
Also on hand were Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) representatives who assisted individuals in filling out their 1040A and 1040EZ federal tax returns.
Taking advantage of the free services was Sharyland High School senior Edna Garza - who waited in line for assistance on her FAFSA form.
"I really needed some help filling the FAFSA application," Garza, who expects to start UTPA in fall 2003, said. "This fair was very helpful and I'm glad the University had something like this."
For the first time, the fair was extended through the evening from 5-7 p.m. for students not able to attend the earlier session.
To make the event more fun, volunteers and participants dressed in a variety of costumes representing UTPA's rich history, from the 30s -70s in celebration of the University's 75th anniversary.