Money hunt starts now

Seminar to help parents, students prepare for college

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Past Event

College Financial Aid Seminars

  • Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 2:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
  • Steamboat Springs High School, 45 Maple St., Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / Free

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— Gayle Dudley knows the financial aid process can be tedious and overwhelming, particularly for parents sending their first child off to college. That's why she created a seminar to help families who are going through the process.

The annual College Financial Aid Seminar is 7 p.m. Monday in the Upper Spring Creek Pod at the Steamboat Springs High School. All area high school students and their parents are invited to attend.

"I think the seminar is particularly good for junior or sophomore parents who really need to start thinking about this," said Dudley, the Steamboat Springs High School's career and college counselor. "We are bringing up experts. I encourage parents to look at this before their children become seniors."

Jennifer Helgeson and Brooke Koenig are the two guest speakers Dudley invited to this year's seminar.

Helgeson is an authority on state and federal grants and loans. She will discuss specific types of state and federal financial aid for college students.

Koenig works in the Financial Aid Office at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. She will discuss working with financial aid offices, reading a financial aid letter and making the relationship between parents and financial aid offices as smooth as possible.

Helgeson has presented the financial aid seminar before, but Koenig is new.

There often is a difference between how public and private schools handle financial aid, which is why Dudley believes parents will benefit from Koenig's attendance.

"Come with questions," Dudley said.

Applications for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, can be submitted beginning Jan. 2. Students must be accepted to a college and have the appropriate paperwork completed, such as the FAFSA, to be eligible for financial aid from a particular school.

"In order to get the best chance of getting financial aid, you need to have everything done," Dudley advised. She also encouraged everyone to fill out a FAFSA form, even if there is question about whether a student is eligible for federal assistance.

"I can guarantee if you don't do a FAFSA, you won't get financial aid," Dudley said.

Dudley also will discuss scholarship applications and local scholarship opportunities. Last year, Dudley estimated $143,000 was awarded to local high school seniors.

Some scholarships are based on financial need, but others are not. Some scholarships are based on community service or career interests.

Parents don't need to bring anything to Monday's free seminar, but they might want to bring a pen and paper to take notes.

Dudley suggested parents file their 2006 tax returns as soon as possible because colleges will want the 2006 numbers on financial aid applications.

- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208

or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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