FAFSA completion event helps start students on college path

MANISTEE — Making a decision on what college to attend is one of the single most important things every high school student has to make in their life.

High School students and their parents from all over Manistee County took part in Wednesday's FAFSA Completion event at the Manistee Intermediate School District that was sponsored by Launch Manistee and the Filer Credit Union.

High School students and their parents from all over Manistee County took part in Wednesday’s FAFSA Completion event at the Manistee Intermediate School District that was sponsored by Launch Manistee and the Filer Credit Union.

However, with the high cost of attending college it is important that every student get all financial aid that is available to them. One of the first steps to attain those funds is by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly referred to as the FASFA.

Launch Manistee, which is a community initiative of the Manistee County Community Foundation in conjunction with the Filer Credit Union sponsored the annual FAFSA Completion event on Wednesday evening for all county high school seniors and their parents. The annual event matches up students and their parents with financial aid experts from area colleges and financial institutions.

Launch Manistee’s Hannah Rodriguez said it is the perfect venue to complete this step of the process. It is a step that all students need to do if they want to attend college.

“This is our countywide FAFSA completion event and this is an opportunity for anyone thinking about going to college to complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid,” said Rodriguez. “We have some expert help from West Shore Community College, Baker College, Northwestern Michigan College and we can do this thanks to Filer Credit Union who are so generous to sponsor this event.”

Rodriguez said they also have some information on scholarships that are  available from the Manistee County Community Foundation and Launch Manistee. So the event gives the students and their parents a good opportunity to see what is out there in financial aid and scholarships.

“We have lots of partners helping with this event tonight,” said Rodriguez. “Those who come to this event don’t have to just be starting their FAFSA as they can be all the way through it and they just want someone to check it over one more time before they submit it. So we are here for every step of the way, whether they are new students just thinking about college or they are in their third year of college and need to review their FAFSA for next year. We are here to help with any of that.”

What also makes the program work is the way all six county school districts and their counselors buy into it.

“All the school counselors are pushing the information out and I am sure they will be by later this evening,” said Rodriguez. “It is truly a county and community effort with lots of support from multiple sectors.”

FAFSA is really the first step every student must take in the college going process said Rodriguez.

“That is especially true to receive any financial aid as there are very few colleges or universities who would let you make the next step if you didn’t complete your FAFSA,” said Rodriguez. “It truly opens the doors for any financial aid you might be eligible for receiving.”

What also pleased the organizers is they had double the appointments from last year, and they also accepted walk-ins.

“We usually serve between 50 to 60 people and I am expecting about the same tonight, but hopefully we will have even more,” she said.

Rodriguez also praised the Manistee Intermediate School District for allowing this event to be held in their building which gave them the space to make everything go smoothly.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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