The University of Texas-Pan American is once again helping families navigate through the financial aid application process during College Goal Sunday Feb. 27.
College Goal Sunday is a nonprofit program that provides free support and information to families applying for financial assistance to pay for higher education. The program began in Indiana in 1989 and has expanded throughout the country. UTPA has hosted College Goal Sunday since 2007.
Educational professionals from high schools, colleges, universities and communities help families of college-bound students on a one-on-one basis complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is required to be filled out by those seeking financial aid including grants, loans and work-study.
UTPA's College Goal Sunday will be held at the Student Services Building Room 1.195, from 2-4 p.m. In addition to helping families fill out the FAFSA, representatives will also provide information on grants and scholarships available to students and information on financial literacy.
Participating students will also have the opportunity to win a $250 textbook scholarship and one of two $100 UTPA scholarships. The event will include a presentation on Generation Texas Movement (another college readiness program run through the Valley Outreach Center) and the opportunity to meet representatives from different UTPA departments, such as the Wellness & Recreational Sports Complex, College Assistance Migrant Program, Migrant Student Success Office and Residence Life. There will also be refreshments, giveaways and daycare provided during the event.
Parents and students should bring their latest tax information and/or last pay stub from the previous year. If they do not have the most current information, the FAFSA allows families to estimate their financial information, which can be updated after they file their taxes. Families do not have to file their taxes with the IRS by College Goal Sunday, said Petra Lopez-Vaquera, director of UTPA's Valley Outreach Center, which organizes the event.
Other information families need to bring with them to complete the FAFSA are:
•the student's Social Security Number
•the student's driver's license (if any)
•the student's W-2 Forms for the previous year and other records of earned income
•the student's (and their spouse's, if the student is married) 2009 Federal Income Tax Return -IRS Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 1040Telefile, foreign tax return, or tax return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Island, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia
•the parents' student's untaxed income records for the previous year -- Social Security, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, welfare, or veterans benefits records
•the parents' and student's current bank statements
•the parents' and student's current business and investment mortgage information, business and farm records, stock, bond, and other investment records
•the parents' and student's alien registration cards (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
All of the information reviewed by the event's volunteers will be kept private and confidential and will only be used to help students and their families apply for financial aid.
For more information about UTPA's College Goal Sunday, contact Petra Lopez-Vaquera at (956) 665-7597 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about College Goal Sunday programs nationwide, visit College Goal Sunday's website.