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Three Forks High School Hosting FAFSA Night

Three Forks High School is hosting a FAFSA Night event on Tuesday, October 26at 6 p.m. in the library.

Twila Miner, Assistant Director of the Office of Financial Aid Services at Montana State University, will be on hand to assist with FAFSA completion and to answer any questions about the FAFSA and financial aid. Parents are being asked to bring their social security number and 2019-20 tax information.

Three Forks High School Counselor Kristy Powell discussed the importance of the upcoming event for both students and said the FAFSA is the only way college students will qualify for national and state college assistance.

Many college advisors have told Powell that not applying for the FAFSA is the biggest mistake college students make, and most qualify for some financial aid. She added some of that money has to be paid back (loans), but some are free (federal grants, work-study).

"The most important reason to attend this event is that filing the FAFSA online can be tricky. The tricky part is, of course, every family and student is different. Oftentimes, parents have questions that are best answered by a pro, and this is why I contacted Twila Miner from the Office of Financial Services at MSU. Sometimes, there are questions about custody, blended families, the different kinds of college aid, etc. that are better answered by someone in the field," Powell said.

According to Powell, 98 percent of post-secondary programs accept FAFSA money.

"I always tell my students that most scholarships now require them to have filled out the FAFSA as well. Scholarship directors want to see that students are taking the initiative to fill out the FAFSA, and they want to see what the government will provide before they kick in aid as well. Additionally, many states and colleges use FAFSA data to award their own aid. Of course, I push students to apply for grants and scholarships as well to pay for college, but nowadays, those require the FAFSA first," said Powell. "The bottom line, for me, is that college is expensive, and many students have to pay part, if not all of that cost on their own. Many families cannot afford to send their youngsters to college, but they are not aware of what financial aid options are available. Coming to this event will answer many questions parents and students might have. Also, if all the information one needs is available, Twila will assist families in filing the FAFSA right there."

The current FAFSA cycle opened on October 1 and will stay open until June 31, 2022. Powell did, however, say that most colleges have a Priority deadline, which is December 1 for Montana colleges.

That is when the first round of financial aid goes out. Coming to this informational event will help people check one more thing off their lists of things to do," said Powell. "I think attending this session will simply answer many questions parents and students have about financial aid and the FAFSA. I've only mentioned a few. Access to computers and the Internet will be available so parents and students can take care of filing the FAFSA that night. But the most valuable thing will be access to Ms. Miner's expertise. My seniors are starting to panic a little about what's next. If they can get this done, it is a big stressor removed."

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