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Local

Free financial aid workshops slated

STERLING – Families seeking financial aid for college should plan to attend free workshops being offered at various area high schools by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the form most college-bound seniors are required to complete to be eligible for and receive financial aid of all types.

Those who attend a workshop will receive line-by-line assistance in completing the form, as well as information on their eligibility for federal and state financial aid programs.

Families should bring:

– Parents’ and student’s dates of birth

– Parents’ and student’s Social Security numbers

– Parents’ and student’s 2012 tax returns and W-2 forms (2011 returns and forms are fine to file an estimated FAFSA)

– Student’s driver’s license

Elizabeth Henkel, an outreach representative from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, said families are encouraged to attend a workshop, even if the FAFSA appears simple.

“It cuts down on errors...and shortens the processing time,” she said.

Henkel said families should plan to complete their forms as soon as possible to be eligible for the most financial aid – including the Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP), a need-based grant awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

To attend

Free FAFSA completion workshops are being held over the next month, and twice at Sterling High School.

They are:

– From 6 to 8 p.m. Monday in the Oregon High School library, 210 S. 10th St.

– F rom 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Sterling High School library, 1608 Fourth Ave.

– From 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 11 at Ashton-Franklin Center.

– From 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at Bureau Valley High School.

– From 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at Milledgeville High School.

– From 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 27 at Prophetstown High School.

– From 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 28 in the Sterling High School library.

-- From 6 to 8 p.m. March 5 at Rock Falls High School.

Families may drop by any time during the open house-format workshops.

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