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Free financial aid assistance
at College Goal Sunday    
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[FEB. 14, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- Free financial aid application assistance will be available for college-bound students at College Goal Sunday-Illinois on Feb. 22 at 13 sites statewide.

With the inauguration of College Goal Sunday, Illinois joins a growing list of states setting aside a single day in February to promote college attendance and assist families in finding financial aid. College Goal Sunday workshops are being conducted in conjunction with February's designation as Financial Aid/Admissions Awareness Month.

College Goal Sunday invites students and their parents to receive free assistance in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA. Most public and private colleges and universities require students to complete the FAFSA to qualify for scholarships, grants and loans.

In addition to providing assistance in applying for financial aid, College Goal Sunday hopes to raise awareness of the benefits of a college education, especially among underserved segments of the Illinois population.

"Financial aid alone is clearly not enough to convince some high school students to pursue a college education, especially those from families where no one has ever attended college before," said Kathleen Webster, co-chair for the College Goal Sunday committee. "These students need to see the value of a college degree as it relates to career opportunities and higher earning power. Once this barrier is knocked down, we can provide more information about the availability of aid through a variety of channels and give assistance in filling out the paperwork required to qualify for that aid."

Workshops will be in the following Illinois cities: Rockford (two sites), East St. Louis, Chicago (four sites), Bloomington, Centralia, Karnak, Mount Vernon, Moline and Springfield.

Students attending the workshops are encouraged to bring 2003 tax information for themselves and their parents, driver's license, Social Security numbers, and other family and individual financial information.

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College Goal Sunday is a volunteer effort backed by Illinois Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, the Financial Aid/Admissions Awareness Month Committee, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission and the Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling.

The program is made possible by a grant from Lumina Foundation for Education, through the cooperation of the Illinois Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

The $237,000 grant received by Illinois is the second largest ever awarded for a College Goal Sunday program. Officials said much of the credit goes to the historical success of Financial Aid/Admissions Awareness Month and the education and awareness programs already in place in Illinois. If funding remains available, officials expect College Goal Sunday to become an annual event.

"By providing technical and financial assistance, Lumina Foundation intends to make College Goal Sunday a nationally prominent initiative," said Martha D. Lamkin, president and CEO of the foundation. "Illinois already had a tremendous start with existing programs and events. College Goal Sunday-Illinois will give these efforts a boost and make college possible for even more students."

The Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation has been instrumental in spreading the College Goal Sunday concept nationwide. Since starting in Indiana in 1989, College Goal Sunday has spread to Arizona, Delaware, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, California and Wyoming.

For a list of College Goal Sunday sites and additional information, visit www.faam.org. For telephone inquiries, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission is available at (800) 899-ISAC [4722].

[News release from the
Illinois Student Assistance Commission]


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