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College Goal Sunday is just around the corner and specialists will be available statewide to answer students' financial aid questions.

On Sunday, financial aid professionals will offer Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, filing assistance in 37 locations across the state, including in East Chicago, Gary, Hammond, Rensselaer, Valparaiso and Westville.

The coordinated statewide effort, in its 31st year, offers students the opportunity to receive free line-by-line assistance in completing the FAFSA which qualifies students for federal and state grants, scholarships and loan assistance at most major colleges and universities across the country.

"This event provides a great opportunity for prospective students to receive free help in completing what can sometimes be a complicated and confusing process," Purdue University Northwest Executive Director of Financial Aid Mike Biel said in a university news release. "I would encourage anyone looking at attending college who has questions about the financial aid process to attend."

College Goal Sunday events will take place from 2-4 p.m. in all Northwest Indiana locations. Spanish language interpreters will be on hand at East Chicago, Gary, Hammond and Valparaiso locations, according to an INvestEd Indiana news release.

Students who attend and submit a completed evaluation form will be entered in a drawing for one of five $1,000 scholarships.

"We hope all Hoosiers who have not filed already take advantage of College Goal Sunday events across Indiana, file the FAFSA and get one step closer to fulfilling their educational goals," College Goal Sunday Co-Chair Bill Wozniak said in the release. "Student who don't complete their financial aid paperwork properly and on time are often very disappointed when they find out how much financial aid they lost."

Events sponsors recommend students attend an upcoming College Goal Sunday seminar with a parent or guardian. Completed 2018 IRS 1040 tax returns, W-2 Forms and other 2018 income and benefits information will be needed to complete an online FAFSA form. 

First time applicants are encouraged to create an Federal Student Aid ID online as fsaid.ed.gov before attending a College Goal Sunday event.

"Indiana has one of the most generous financial aid programs in the nation, but students must file the FAFSA in order to take advantage of it," Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers said in a news release.

"We are pleased to be working with organizations like College Goal Sunday that help ensure more Hoosiers complete the form, getting them one step closer to completing education beyond high school."

A completed FAFSA form must be filed by April 15, 2020, to receive financial aid in the 2020-2021 school year.

Northwest Indiana locations offering College Goal Sunday events on Sunday include:

East Chicago: Ivy Tech Community College, 410 E. Columbus Drive

Gary: Indiana University Northwest, 3400 Broadway

Hammond: Purdue University Northwest, Student Union & Library Building, Room 200, 2200 169th St.

Rensselaer: Rensselaer Central High School, 1106 E. Grace St.

Valparaiso: Ivy Tech Community College, 3100 Ivy Tech Drive

Westville: Purdue University Northwest, Technology Building, Room 265, 1401 S. U.S. Highway 421

For more information, see CollegeGoalSunday.org.

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Education Reporter

Carley Lanich covers education in Lake County and throughout the Region. She comes to Northwest Indiana from Indianapolis and studied journalism at the IU Media School in Bloomington.

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