The Boothbay Region High School Guidance Department’s College and Career Access Program and Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) will hold two events in the next month for students and parents of students looking to continue their education after high school. Financial Aid Night is Thursday, Sept. 26 in the BRHS library. The FAFSA Filing Lab is Tuesday, Oct. 8 in the BRHS computer lab. Both events run from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and will have light refreshments and time for questions and answers.
College Access Coordinator Hannah Johnson said a FAME representative will speak about options and the do’s and don’ts of student loans as well as expensive schools, how to read award letters, and ways personal finances affect eligibility for state and federal loans. Johnson said the events may also touch on scholarships and will be geared more toward the senior class, but she also hopes to see plenty of juniors and their parents.
“The Financial Aid Night will be an overview of what to expect when navigating the weird wide world of financial aid,” said Johnson.
Students and parents should have their Social Security numbers at hand, copies of 2018 tax returns and all W-2 forms for the FAFSA Filing Lab. FAFSA opens on Oct. 1 and Johnson said the sooner the form is completed, the more likely a student is to get financial aid. Though FAFSA is heavily based on factors like income, assets, family size, and the number of people in the family attending a variety of institutions, Johnson said many other factors can affect the amount of aid.
“I will be sending home information about what else to bring before the event on Oct. 8. (We) recommend that families attend financial aid night or be in touch with a member of the guidance department prior to trying to fill out the FAFSA.”
Johnson said students should file a FAFSA even if they know they do not want to go to college: It is much better to file and not use it, in case there is a change of heart on attending a program that accepts federal financial aid. Plus, said Johnson, it takes less than an hour to complete.
Students and parents unable to attend these events can reach out to the College and Career Access office which has further support from FAME financial aid experts and other partnerships. These professionals can meet with students and parents at BRHS to complete FAFSA one on one.