Several workshops are coming up to help students and families complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. FAFSA assistance events are being held by STCU and Columbia Basin College.
Four sessions are planned at Pasco’s STCU branch, 5677 Road 68.
Dates are 5:30-7:30 p.m. Jan. 31, Feb. 8, Feb. 27 and March 13.
Columbia Basin College is hosting workshops for each public school district in the Tri-Cities.
The events are:
Completing the FAFSA form provides applicants with options for obtaining college scholarships, entering work-study programs and other cost assistance.
The form is also known for its complexity, and the nationwide June 30 completion rate for 2023 was 53.4%, according to STCU.
STCU has launched 32 FAFSA events at branch locations throughout Eastern Washington and northern Idaho, including the Tri-Cities.
According to the National College Attainment Council, help from trained community volunteers is key to increasing FAFSA completion rates.
“We hear from families that it’s a relief to have someone help them through the process,” said Melody Somday, STCU community branch manager in Republic, where a successful FAFSA session recently was held.
Percentages of students who have completed the FAFSA are low in Washington and Idaho compared to other U.S. states. Washington’s 2022 high school class left nearly $60 million in Pell grants unused, while in Idaho it was nearly $20 million, according to the National College Attainment Network.
The two states’ completion rates are looking up with a mid-year increase of 7 percentage points this year. STCU hopes to build on that momentum by offering its assistance to families during these evening events.
Anyone with a student considering vocational training, apprenticeship programs or college after high school can attend STCU’s sessions, regardless of whether they are STCU members. No registration is necessary, and participants do not need to bring computers.
Participants attending CBC’s financial aid workshops are advised to bring their Social Security number, federal income taxes from 2022, W-2s, FSA ID login information and a college list of where the student wants to attend.
High school seniors and parents are encouraged to attend.
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