College tuition is expensive, and applying for financial aid is a complicated process for students and parents.
For that reason, local students will be able to sign up for free workshops to help them apply for financial assistance.
College Goal Washington is running workshops at community colleges and high schools across Snohomish County in January.
“If someone had never filled out the form before, or English isn’t their first language, the process can seem complicated,” said Anita Radliff, the interim Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships at Everett Community College.
Even though the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form is easier to use than in past years, and everything is done online, some students still need help, Radliff said.
At each workshop, college applicants will be able to talk with financial experts or trained volunteers about filling out the FAFSA forms, said Radliff.
A Spanish interpreter will also be present as well at the Everett Community College events.
The workshop is structured so that participants’ confidential information is handled with discretion, Radliff said.
Workshop participants should prepare their financial records ahead of time. However, even if they can’t gather all their information, they are still welcome to attend, Radliff said. The FAFSA form can be updated later.
In addition, participants should at least start the process of applying for financial aid, even if they are not sure which college they will attend, or even if they will attend college at all.
Application deadlines for financial aid vary, depending on the school. Four-year colleges typically have earlier deadlines than community colleges, Radliff said, so the student should apply as soon as possible after Jan. 1.
Future students who are legal dependents should attend with their parent or guardian so the form can be completed at the workshop.
Last year, approximately 175 students attended the workshop at Everett Community College and another 50 came to ECC’s Monroe campus.
This year, more are expected, Radliff said, and College Goal Washington has been promoting the workshops in local high schools.
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College Goal Washington workshops will be held at high schools and colleges in Snohomish County starting Jan. 6. To find a workshop and register, and to find out what to bring, visit collegegoalsundaywa.org, although registration is not required. Participants can show up at any time during the workshop hours, and should expect to complete the form in one hour.
Financial Aid applicants who can’t attend a workshop can get assistance by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complete list of workshops:
Jan. 6, 6-8 p.m., Stanwood High School, 74200 272nd St. NW, Stanwood.
Jan. 11. 1-4p.m., Everett High School, 2416 Colby Ave, Everett.
Jan. 22. 6-8p.m., Everett Community College, East County Campus 14090 Fryelands Blvd. SE, Suite 373 in Monroe.
Jan. 25. 10a.m.-2p.m., Everett Community College, Shuksan Hall Room 141 on EvCC’s campus at 2000 Tower St., Everett.
Jan. 26. 10 a.m.-1p.m., Edmonds Community College. 20000 68th Ave. W,, Lynnwood.
Jan. 29. 5:30-8p.m., Cascade High School, 801 E. Casino Road, Everett.