Monday, May 19, 2008

FAFSA

I do not remember filling out a paper based FAFSA when I went to my first brick and mortar college (University of Florida) many years ago but later in life as an adult student I remember filling the FAFSA out electronically and conducting a FAFSA renewal for the following years to keep my information up to date.

Students in Georgia have the option to fill out the FAFSA from the primary FAFSA site:
http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ or through GAcollege411 http://www.gacollege411.org/ where the student's selections for college, SAT/ACT scores, grants, scholarships, and other required information is consolidated.

When did you have your first discussion with your parents about income and whether or not they filed a 1040, 1040A, or EZ? I asked my mother and neither of us can recall discussing taxes for FAFSA, scholarship, or grant information. Then again I was one of many students whose parents expected us to go to college but no plan of action, no supplemental savings, and no internet access. Progression is a good thing.

Students today have the internet connectivity whether from home, school, or local library. As a participative parent, I conducted scholarship workshops at the local library in December and January as parents were consolidating tax paper work. I attended a couple of local FAFSA workshops and the paper version was still strongly encouraged. The workshops I conducted were in the computer lab at the library and part of the workshop was visiting the reference book section with the printed scholarship books and the paper copy of the FAFSA application then back to the computer lab to access GAcollege411 accounts, FAFSA, fastweb.com, and brokescholar.com.

It was amazing to see the difference in students who are encouraged or required to complete resumes in middle/high school, network with adults outside of family and school to acquire community service connections, and those students who networked with adults with whom they could ask for a letter of reference and those students who are not encouraged or required.

The students growing up digital create e-portfolios, websites as online resumes, social networking spaces because they can, they are internetworked connected, and building computer and online social networking skills is just another part of the lifelong learning process.
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