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College Goal Sunday aims for academic touchdown

One week after Super Bowl 2012, the Colorado Governor’s office will be hosting a more academically-focused event: College Goal Sunday.

Gov. Hickenlooper proclaimed Feb. 12 the sixth annual College Goal Sunday, a day when Colorado residents can receive free help filling out the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) forms. The goal is to encourage and empower all Colorado students to attend college, regardless of financial situation.

“We hear a lot of people saying how difficult the FAFSA is or that they have heard from their neighbor how hard it is so we just want to take that frustration out,” said LeAnne Schnader, one of the site coordinators for the Fort Collins location, who has been working with the program since its start six years ago.

College Goal Sunday will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. in 17 different locations across the state. For families in Aurora, Grand Junction, Craig or Durango, times and dates may differ. Local colleges and universities are providing the building spaces and computer labs for most of the events. The majority of FAFSA forms at the event will be filled out online, letting families immediately know what their funding package will be.

College tips galore for high school parents

Experts will also share tips on how to pay for college and award $20,000 in scholarships. Scholarships will be given in $1,000 increments and are mainly donated by Colorado state colleges and universities.

The volunteer experts for the event are professionals from the admissions, financial aid and registrar’s offices on college campuses. These individuals not only help with the FAFSA but are also there to answer any questions families may have about college.

Last year the Fort Collins location served 164 parents and students, while in 2009 there were nearly 370 people at that location. The Tivoli Student Union at the Auraria campus is typically the largest with around 500 people each year. Organizers recommend arriving as early as possible and allotting at least 40 to 60 minutes for the process.

“We work one-on-one with thousands of families every year and find that a majority of families would have completed the FAFSA wrong if they did it on their own, potentially impacting their funding,” College in Colorado Director of Outreach Misti Ruthven said.

What to bring

Essential documents to bring to the day include:

  • Family social security numbers
  • Driver’s licenses
  • 2011 W-2 (or comparable) forms
  • 2011 bank statements
  • 2011 investment records
  • Alien registration cards for non-U.S. citizens

“If you have a senior in high school this is for you,” Ruthven said. “We really recommend that you come to the event regardless of your income. A lot of people say, ‘We wont qualify for anything’, but there is funding from the FAFSA that even higher income families can get.”

Families are not required to file their 2011 tax returns before submitting a FAFSA or attending College Goal Sunday but it is recommended.

According to the national College Goal Sunday website, Colorado is one of 39 states to participate in College Goal Sunday. Five other states offer similar programs, such as FAFSA Day.

The event started around the country after a study from H&R Block and Chicago Public Schools found that 90 percent of high school seniors who filled out a FAFSA were enrolled in college within 12 months.

Find an event near you

Sunday, Feb. 12
2 – 4 p.m.
Adams State College
Adams State – Student Union
Stadium Boulevard and 1st Avenue

Sunday, Feb. 12
Noon – 2 p.m.
Community College of Aurora
Administration Building
16000 E. Centre Tech Parkway

Colorado Springs
Sunday, Feb. 12
2 – 4 p.m.
2 locations:
Pikes Peak Community College
5675 S. Academy Blvd.
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy.
Columbine Hall, Rooms 220, 221, 223, & 224

Commerce City
Sunday, Feb. 12
2 – 4 p.m.
Adams City High School
7200 Quebec Pkwy.

Saturday, Feb. 11
1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Colorado Northwestern Community College – Bell Tower Building
50 College Dr.

Denver/Auraria Campus
Sunday, Feb. 12
2 – 4 p.m.
Auraria Campus
The Tivoli Student Union
900 Auraria Parkway

Saturday, Feb. 18
2 – 4 p.m.
Fort Lewis College
Reed Library
1000 Rim Dr.

Fort Collins
Sunday, Feb. 12
2 – 4 p.m.
Front Range Community College
Blanca Peak Building
4616 S. Shields

Grand Junction
Sunday, Feb. 12
1 – 4 p.m.
Colorado Mesa University
Wubben Hall, Room 145
1100 North Ave.

Sunday, Feb. 12
2 – 4 p.m.
University of Northern Colorado
University Center
2045 10th Avenue

Sunday, Feb. 12
2 – 4 p.m.
Western State College of Colorado
Student Union

La Junta
Sunday, Feb. 12
2 – 4 p.m.
Otero Junior College
2002 San Juan Ave.
Sunday, Feb. 12
2 – 4 p.m.
Front Range Community College – Boulder
2121 Miller Dr.
Sunday, Feb. 12
2 – 4 p.m.
Pueblo Community College
900 W. Orman Ave.
Sunday, Feb. 12
2 – 4 p.m.
Northeastern Junior College
Phillips Whyman Hall
701 Landrum Lane
Tuesday, Jan. 31
6-8:00 p.m.
Wilkinson Public Library
100 W. Pacific Ave.

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