Thousands of Florida students who need money for college took the first step to getting financial aid at College Goal Sunday during the weekend of Feb. 24, 2008. College Goal Sunday provides opportunities for college-bound students to access millions of dollars in free money for their education. Financial aid experts shared their knowledge during College Goal Sunday, a free statewide event to help students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form is required to receive federal and state financial aid for college tuition. Students who successfully submit the FAFSA could receive as much as $10,000 in free money through state and federal need-based financial aid programs. As an added bonus, at least one student attending each College Goal Sunday site walked away with scholarship money in their pockets.
The Florida Department of Education hosted College Goal Sunday at community college and university campuses, high schools, and community centers across the state. The Division of Community Colleges secured a grant from the Lumina Foundation to offer College Goal Sunday with the goal of expanding the program to serve every county in Florida. The number of sites has grown from 28 in year one to 56 in 2008. During the first two years of Florida's College Goal Sunday, nearly 6,000 students took advantage of the once-a-year program to get free expert assistance to complete the complex FAFSA accurately. In this, the third year of the program, 6,600 students received help with the FAFSA, representing a 30 percent increase from 2007, and a 660 percent increase in attendance from 2006.
"Before I heard about College Goal Sunday, I wasn’t sure I could afford college. The experts there answered all of my questions and told me about the average costs for books and tuition," said Cheyenne McGregor. "With the help I received, I got money to attend Florida A&M University where I’m now a freshman in the School of Journalism. I was also excited to win the $500 scholarship drawing."
Students and families who need help completing the FAFSA should contact a college financial aid officer in their community, or log onto www.fldoe.org/collegegoalsunday for more information.