Several Northeast Indiana organizations are partnering with the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership’s Big Goal Collaborative to offer free support to students and families in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Filling out the FAFSA, a government form that streamlines the college financial aid process, is a must to qualify for assistance and reduce student loan burden.
The free FAFSA support will be offered from 4 to 7 p.m. on Feb. 16 and 23 and March 1 and 9 at the Fort Wayne Community School’s Career Academy at Anthis, 1200 S. Barr St., in Fort Wayne. Programs will also be offered in DeKalb County on Thursdays from February 11 to March 3 at local public libraries in Waterloo, Butler, Garrett and Eckhart.
Trained personnel from K-12 and higher education will be volunteering their time to support this initiative. The goal of this program is to help increase the number of students in Northeast Indiana completing the FAFSA, which will connect more individuals to post-secondary opportunities and help the region meet its Big Goal of 60 percent post-secondary credential and degree attainment by 2025.
“The educational success of every individual is essential to creating a dependable and reliable workforce. By offering this free FAFSA assistance program, Northeast Indiana is combining regional education efforts to create a community that overcomes challenges as we work to reach the Big Goal,” said Wylie Sirk, director of educational leadership at IPFW and member of the Big Goal Collaborative’s High School Completion task force.
All students and families in Northeast Indiana are invited to attend and take advantage of the free assistance.
“There’s only one way to reach the Big Goal, and that’s to remove any and all obstacles to college access. The FAFSA project is a great step forward,” said Ryan Twiss, director of Regional Initiatives at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. “As a region, we know that the contribution of many trumps the success of the individual every time. That’s what makes this so exciting. We are all collaborating toward a shared vision to increase educational attainment. We are united for the common good.”
As part of ongoing collaborations aligned with the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership’s Vision 2020 Initiative and the Big Goal Collaborative, collaborating partners include the Allen County Public Library, Cornerstone Youth Center, Indiana Department of Education, Indiana Youth Institute, Ivy Tech Community College Northeast, Fort Wayne Community Schools, Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, Northeast Indiana Works, Olin B. and Desta Schwab Foundation, Questa Education Foundation, Region 8 Education Service Center, SCAN, Sirk Educational Consulting, and Southwest Allen County Schools.
Dates, times and locations:
Fort Wayne Community School’s Career Academy at Anthis
1200 S. Barr St., Fort Wayne
4-7 p.m. on Feb. 16 and 23 and March 1 and 9
Contact: Tanya Young, 260-480-4196
Waterloo Grant Township Public Library
300 S. Wayne St., Waterloo
4-7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11
Butler Public Library
340 S. Broadway St., Butler
4-7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18
Garrett Public Library
107 W. Houston St., Garrett
4-7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25
Eckhart Public Library
603 S. Jackson St., Auburn
4-7 p.m. on Thursday, March 3
What to bring:
- Federal Student Aid username and password created before arrival
- Social Security Number
- Driver’s License Number
- Alien Registration number or permanent residence card if you are not a U.S. citizen
- Taxable income from 2015 W-2 forms or other records of money earned or received
- Untaxed income, including workers compensation; child support; housing; food and other living allowances; veterans benefits
- 2015 Federal Income Tax Returns (IRS tax form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ)
- 2015 bank statements
- Business and investment information; business and farm records; stocks, bonds; and other investment records
In addition to this FAFSA assistance program, the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership’s Big Goal Collaborative is partnering with NIPSCO to launch a regional FAFSA Completion Competition for regional high schools. The competition runs through March 10. Three winning high schools will each be given a $1,500 scholarship to award to a graduating senior.
To view the FAFSA assistance program flier in English, Spanish or Burmese, visit www.neindiana.com/BigGoal.
About the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership
The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership was formed in 2006 to help build a globally competitive economy in Northeast Indiana. It is a public-private partnership focused on generating business leads and building regional capacity through product development and effective regional collaboration. In 2010, the Partnership launched Vision 2020 to bring the region together around five key areas for economic growth: 21st Century Talent, Competitive Business Climate, Entrepreneurship, Infrastructure and Quality of Life. Through its combined efforts in business development and capacity building, the Partnership supports its 11 member counties: Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties. For more information, visit www.neindiana.com.