By Floyd Ingram/Chickasaw Journal
CHICKASAW COUNTY – Kiera Stanfield knows what she wants to do after high school and she and her mother were at College Goal Sunday last week to help find ways to pay for it.
“I plan to join the Army but I also want to go to ICC (Itawamba Community College) and major in business,” said Stanfield. “College is so expensive and I’ve got to have financial aid if I’m going to go.”
And learning the ropes of obtaining grants and loans for college was the aim of College Goal Sunday held at Houston High School and Okolona High School last week with university representatives and high school teachers and administrators on hand to answer questions.
“I don’t think parents and students realize how many resources there are out there to help kids pay for college,” said Mike Johnson, financial aid counselor at Mississippi State University. “Learning the channels, getting the contacts and just filling out the forms properly and on time is most of the battle.”
Dorothy Stanfield said College Bowl Sunday was a big help to her and her daughter.
“I will take all the help I can get and do what I can to get my daughter into college,” said Standfield. “It has been great to talk with people who have the answers.”
College representatives from ICC, Ole Miss and MSU were on hand for the fourth year Friday at Houston High School to help students and parents work the system.
“There are certain forms and financial information everyone has to fill out to enter college and this program helps students with that,” said Pam Carson, a College Coach with the Institution of Higher Learning, a coordinating sponsor of College Bowl Sunday. “The first step is completing a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) that all students interested in financial aid have to fill out.”
Carson said IHL will host College Bowl Sunday at over 100 schools across the state this month. She pointed out the event was also held in Okolona Saturday morning and is slated to be in Vardaman March 5.
“Going to college is your chance to get ahead,” said Carson. “College really is a life-changing event and kids need to know finances shouldn’t keep them from going to college.”
To provide the best possible service, students may register online at www.mscollegegoalsunday.org.
Students and parents seeking financial aid need to round up specific financial information and forms to speed up the process.
That information includes:
• Student’s and parent’s federal tax return
• Student’s and parent’s driver’s license, Social Security numbers and birthdates
• Student’s and parent’s W-2 forms and records of other money earned
• Current bank statements to show amount of cash, savings and checking accounts
• Current business information
• Total amount of investments not in retirement accounts
• Alien registration form if not a citizen
• Dates of parent’s marriage, divorce or separation
Students and parents are urged to contact their high school counselor for more information about entering college and obtaining financial aid.