FAFSA workshop helps students apply for financial aid

Joseph Espiritu

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid form is a required document that determines financial aid eligibility, and must be filed every academic year.

For students who still need to fill out their FAFSA forms, Saddleback College Financial Aid Specialist Javier Williams offers “FAFSA Fridays,” which are open workshops in which students can get help completing the application.

“The workshops allow the students to see and understand the pitfalls when filling out their FAFSAs,” said Williams.

The form, which can be overwhelming for students, acts as a blanket application for federal programs and state aid, and is usually paired with other paperwork such as a GPA verification form. An applicant’s high school must sign this verification form should they also want to apply for a Cal Grant.

Students often make mistakes in their FAFSA forms, such as putting in the wrong tax information, wrong dependence status, or wrong financial information.

“Students are sometimes confused in putting the correct information,” said Williams. “And this is where workshops like this really help since you want to get your forms in correctly the first time.”

The workshops, which gather a following of up to 27 students on a typical day, have been a success. However, talks of offering the workshop on additional days is being debated.

“I think we’re going to change it to FAFSA Frenzy, FAFSA something,” said Williams. “As long as it gets the students’ attention and let’s them know they can come in and get help.”