During the free event, counselors will guide students and family members through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process on Wednesday, March 30 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the SA Building at St. Petersburg College Gibbs Campus, Room 118.
ST. PETERSBURG — If you or your family members are considering a higher education degree, counselors at the Pinellas Program for Access to Higher Education (PATHe) will be on hand to help you apply for financial aid at the Fries & FAFSA event on March 30.
PATHe is a community outreach program between the USF St. Petersburg campus and St. Petersburg College to provide equitable and accessible pathways to higher education for all students. One of these routes is through financial aid. Such help is essential for many students, but the forms and processes to apply can often be overwhelming.
Advisors will guide students and their family members through the FAFSA process during the free event.
FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, allows students to be automatically considered for federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs. Anyone planning to pursue post-secondary education is encouraged to complete federal forms, regardless of income. In many cases, students can qualify for financial aid through low-cost loans, grants, academic aid, merit scholarships, military family aid, and academic international.
“This opens up many financial aid opportunities that they might not have been able to take advantage of without completing the FAFSA,” said Xavier Ramos, associate director of PATHe and COMPASS Student Experience at USF’s Saint Saint campus. -Petersburg. “One of the biggest benefits of this solution is that they don’t have to accept any of these options. But knowing they have them is valuable information.
Ramos added that colleges and universities also use information from the FAFSA process for admissions. For example, first-generation college students have traditionally been underrepresented in higher education. A university can target these students and support them through the admissions process by having this information.
“There’s a lot of effort to keep admissions cohorts more diverse and inclusive, and often the information comes from the FAFSA, and that helps universities target those students,” Ramos said.
People attending the event will need to bring the necessary information, including a social security number or alien registration number (if not a US citizen), federal tax returns, W-2 and statements of money earned. Students who complete the FAFSA will receive a voucher to redeem a free order of fries at participating McDonald’s restaurants.
On Wednesday, March 30, the session is from 5 to 8 p.m. at St. Petersburg College’s Gibbs Campus in the SA Building, Room 118.
The event is just one of the ways USF, Pinellas County Schools, and St. Petersburg College are working to increase the number of students who complete the FAFSA, which is free. More than half of all students in Florida qualify for some form of financial aid, but many don’t take advantage of it.
Participants are invited to register first, but walk-ins are also welcome.