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City to sponsor FAFSA Fest

fafsa_festRochester College Access Network, a program of Rochester Education Foundation, will host a series of free events to help families file their students’ Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms in order to pay for college, city officials said.

The city of Rochester is a sponsor for the event.

“FAFSA Fest 2015” will bring local volunteers to locations around the city to help students who plan to attend college in the 2015-2016 school year complete the online FAFSA, answer financial aid questions, and provide one-on-one help for understanding college costs, according to officials.

Volunteers will include financial aid counselors from local colleges, accountants and attorneys.

In, students attending the events on February 18, 19 and 21 will be eligible for a drawing to win one of eight $500 scholarships to Monroe Community College, courtesy of the Monroe Community College Foundation.

A tablet will also be given away through a drawing at the Feb. 18 event.

“Access to a quality education is the staircase out of poverty and continues to be my top priority,” said Mayor Lovely Warren. “I am thankful for the many partners in this community that work tirelessly to make college a reality for our residents. Inability to pay for college is sometimes a barrier for some. Making sure that students are aware of financial aid opportunities is exactly what FAFSA Fest is all about.”

Applications for most colleges and universities will be due March 1, event officials said.

Additionally, the FAFSA Fest events have been scheduled as follows:

• Sunday, Feb. 8 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at East High School (College Goal NY);
• Wednesday, Feb. 18 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.; MCC Damon Campus, 228 East Main St. (Free parking is available at the Mortimer Street Garage, 83 Mortimer St.);
• Thursday, Feb. 19 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Phillis Wheatley Library, 33 Doctor Samuel McCree Way;
• Saturday, Feb. 21 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.; Sully Branch Library, 530 Webster Ave.

Food and refreshments will be provided at the events.

“Filling out the FAFSA is the first step for students who want to go to college and need financial support,” said Patricia Braus, chair of Rochester College Access Network. “These events throughout the city will make it easy for every potential college student in Rochester to obtain help in filling out these forms. A total of 49 percent of Rochester City School seniors submitted FAFSA forms this past school year, and we know that more students would benefit from financial aid, which is available and waiting for students to use.”

Officials also said students who plan to attend any of the FAFSA Fest events should bring 2014 federal and NYS Tax forms, or 2013 tax returns, as well as a list of 2014 income and recent pay stubs.

In addition, parents or guardians should also attend with their students to ensure the application process can be completed.

According to officials, any student may attend the event, and assistance for special circumstances will be available.

The Community Foundation, Excellus, Oppenheimer Funds, WXXI, WDKX, the Monroe Community College Foundation, and the Rochester Public Library are also sponsors of the event.

Members of RCAN include every local college or university, Rochester City School District, the Rochester Area Community Foundation, United Way, not-for-profit groups including Hillside Work Scholarship Connection and the Urban League, and business and other individual representatives.

Visit www.RochesterCAN.org, www.cityofrochester.gov/FAFSAfest for additional information regarding the events, or call Rochester Education Foundation at (585) 271-5790.