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College financial aid event this weekend

CONYERS -- Rockdale County high school seniors and their parents can get free help applying for financial aid for college this weekend.

Rockdale County Public Schools' annual College Goal Georgia is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Rockdale Career Academy, which is located at 1064 Culpepper Drive, off Parker Road, in Conyers.

"Applying for financial aid for education beyond high school can be confusing, especially with the paperwork that is required for federal aid in other states," said April Fallon, director of Community and Student Support at RCPS. "College Goal Sunday is a free program that helps families."

She said families will benefit from attending by getting the most financial aid that they can get and being able to talk to experts.

Students and their parents will be able to get free, onsite professional assistance when completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is better known as the FAFSA. This form is required by post-secondary schools for financial aid, like grants, loans and, in Georgia, the HOPE scholarship.

"We will have FAFSA experts available in computer labs to assist students with completing their online application," Fallon said, adding that they will give an in-depth, line-by-line explanation.

They also will be able to talk to financial aid professionals about financial aid resources and how to apply for them.

At the event, families also can get information regarding statewide student services and admissions requirements. Additionally, they can learn to navigate the college application process through expert speaker Steven Crisp from Crisp College Advising, who will speak at 1 p.m. in the school's auditorium.

"He presented at last year's College Goal Sunday, and parents found the information to be very informative and helpful," Fallon said.

Students need to bring with them their Social Security number; their FAFSA pin that can be created at www.pin.ed.gov; their driver's license, if any; their W-2 forms from the previous year and other records of money earned; a 2010 federal income tax return; their parents' federal income tax return for the previous year for dependent students; current bank statements; current business and investment mortgage information and other investment records; and documentation that states they are a U.S. permanent resident or other eligible noncitizen.

Students are eligible if they are a citizen or eligible noncitizen with a valid Social Security number; will have a high school diploma or General Education Development certificate or can pass an approved ability to benefit test; will enroll in an eligible program as a regular student seeking a degree or certificate; will register or have registered for Selective Service, if they are a male between the ages of 18 and 25 years old; and have no prior or pending felony drug convictions.

Child care is available for children ages 4 and older.

The event also will feature a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship.

More information about the event is at www.CollegeGoalSundayGA.com.