While the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the single most important resource for helping students pay for college, tackling – and finishing – the financial aid application can be an intimidating and challenging process.
By hosting FAFSA Day, Montclair State will play its part in helping New Jersey students afford a college education – no matter what institution they decide to attend. “Opening up this event to the general public is a logical extension of our mission to serve the citizens of New Jersey,” says Financial Aid Counselor Stanley Fils.
At Montclair State’s second annual FAFSA Day on Sunday, January 7, University financial aid specialists will be on hand to help potential incoming freshmen and their families from Bergen, Essex and Passaic counties complete their financial aid applications in advance of the February 1, 2018, priority deadline.
“This event exemplifies the University’s overarching mission to make higher education accessible, and by implication, affordable, to New Jersey students,” says Vice President for Student Development and Campus Life Karen L. Pennington. “The process is complicated and can be daunting. We hope students and families will take advantage of this opportunity to make the process less stressful.”
Montclair State’s FAFSA Day was the brainchild of Fils, who last year saw a chance to fill a gap, after the State of New Jersey discontinued its FAFSA Days at statewide locations due to budgetary constraints. “In response, we decided to host a FAFSA Day of our own,” he explains. “We wanted to provide some clarity and alleviate some of the stress that comes with applying for aid.”
On FAFSA Day, Fils will give a general presentation on the entire financial aid process – from how financial aid works to tips he has picked up as a financial aid counselor. This year, the presentation will also be offered in Spanish. In addition, members of the University’s financial aid team will meet individually with attendees in the Student Center Computer Lab to provide one-on-one help with completing the FAFSA.
Fils encourages both parents and their students to attend FAFSA Day. “Fresh out of high school, students are asked to make life-changing decisions without much time to think things over,” he says. “I’m a big believer that when it comes to finances, there should be a family discussion – so that students and their families can make better decisions that could save them thousands of dollars over the long term.”
Perhaps best of all, those who attend FAFSA Day can put a face to financial aid at Montclair State by having a chance to meet the staff and learn about financial aid options. “Events like this help us deliver the message that we have so much valuable information to offer,” Fils says. “We’re just everyday people looking to help.”
FAFSA Day will be held in the Student Center Ballroom and Computer Lab on January 7 from 9 am to noon. To avoid delays at the event, students and their families are asked to create their FAFSA IDs in advance.