JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County Public Schools is helping its college-bound students get as much help as possible paying for a higher education.
Each year, more than $2.3 billion of financial aid goes unclaimed.
To help its high school graduates get this money, the district is hosting free Financial Aid Nights.
The seminars will be held at schools around the district over the next few months. It will teach students how to apply for college financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
The Federal Student Aid Office provides more than $120 billion in grants, work-study funds, and loans each year, according to DCPS, but students must complete the FAFSA® form to see if they can get any of that money.
Avoid these common FAFSA mistakes
According to the U.S. Department of Education there 12 common mistakes people make on their FAFSA forms. They include the following:
Not completing the FAFSA form
Many believe it’s too hard or takes too long to complete
Not using the correct website
The official FAFSA website is fafsa.gov. Make sure the URL link has “.gov” You never have to pay to complete the FAFSA form. If you’re asked to provide credit card information, you’re not on the official government website.
Not filling out the FAFSA form as soon as it’s available
If you want to get the most financial aid possible, fill out the FAFSA form ASAP, said Wendy Dunlap, Director of High School Programs for Duval County Public Schools. Some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, and some states and colleges run out of money early.
Not filing the FAFSA Form by the Deadline
Each state and school sets its own deadline, and some deadlines are very early. To be sure you are being considered for the maximum amount of financial aid, fill out your FAFSA form—and any other financial aid applications required by your state or school—before the earliest deadline.
Students and families can attend Financial Aid Nights beginning October through February. A list of dates and locations can be found here: DCPS Financial Aid Nights
Students and families can also receive assistance with completing the FAFSA at the Jacksonville National College Fair on Saturday, October 13 at the Prime Osborn Convention Center. The event is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Financial aid experts from FSCJ, UNF and JU will be there to provide hands on assistance. At the event:
- Parents and students will receive help from financial aid counselors in filling out FAFSA forms
- Students are encouraged to get their FSA ID (Federal Student AID ID) before the event. They can do this by going to https://fsaid.ed.gov/
- Students should pre-register at www.fscj.edu/nacac
- Make sure you view “What to Bring” checklist at https://fafsa.ed.gov/help/before003.htm
- These items include your most recent federal tax return, bank statements, and driver’s license.
Students in Orange Park, St. Augustine, and Palatka can also learn more about completing their FAFSA forms with help from St. Johns River State College (SJR State). The college will hold “FAFSA Frenzy” on the following nights:
October 25, 2018, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Orange Park Campus
283 College Drive, Orange Park
November 8, 2018, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
St. Augustine Campus
2990 College Drive, St. Augustine
H - Building (Health Sciences Building)
November 15, 2018, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
5001 St. Johns Ave., Palatka
V Building (Viking Center)