PASCO -- The federal government is giving out money for college, but you need to apply soon to have a decent chance at it.
In the next two weeks, communities across the state are helping students apply for financial aid by filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
CBC is the host of College Goal Sunday today at noon in the Thornton Center, 2600 N. 20th Ave., Pasco.
The event is free and open to anyone planning to attend any college or university.
Coordinated by the NELA Center for Student Success, students and families can learn how financial aid works and get help completing a financial aid application.
Additionally, WSU Tri-Cities is holding a Cougar Saturday open house and FAFSA workshop next Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Consolidated Information Center, 2770 Crimson Way, Richland.
The first step in applying for financial aid is to complete the FAFSA.
By completing and submitting the FAFSA, the U.S. Department of Education will calculate the Expected Family Contribution toward college. The college at which the student plans to attend will then determine the exact amount of aid the student will receive, based on the costs of attendance at that particular college.
Aid may include the Washington State Need Grant, which provides as much as $9,000 yearly to eligible students at UW and WSU and $3,256 yearly at community colleges. Even middle-income families should complete the FAFSA, since it is required for students to receive educational loans. Students already enrolled in college and receiving financial aid must remember that the financial aid award is only good for one academic year, so they need to reapply if they want aid for 2012-13.
Other forms of financial aid may be available through scholarships and grants.
Students should contact their high school counselors and check college websitesfor information, application procedures and critical deadlines.
At WSU Tri-Cities, the online application at www.tricity.wsu.edu is due Jan. 31 for new and returning students to be considered for more than 800 WSU scholarships.
Applications for CBC scholarships are due Feb. 21 to the CBC Foundation, and students are encouraged to check www.columbiabasin.edu for hundreds of scholarship opportunities.
Veterans are able to get financial aid for college through the GI Bill and should contact their intended college for details and assistance.