30 Sep COLLEGE GOAL SUNDAY CONNECTICUT – Providing FAFSA Support for Families for Over Nine Years

By Ivette Rivera-Dreyer, Director of Financial Aid, Manchester Community College

In 2007, Connecticut became a member of a national initiative called College Goal Sunday (CGS).  The purpose of this yearly event is to offer students and their parents’ one-on-one, expert advice on how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and on how to plan for college.  CGS is a volunteer, charitable effort to assist low-income families and those who have no college-going tradition in accessing a higher education.  Specifically, CGS helps families complete the FAFSA— the application required to qualify for college financial aid nationwide.  In addition, valuable information will be shared about the benefits of attending college, student support services, areas of study, and different degree programs.

The College Goal Sunday program was established in 1989 and has evolved from a one-time event offered in the state of Indiana to a national effort including 40 state programs and the District of Columbia.  After close to ten years, through our Connecticut CGS we have been able to help thousands of students and their families in the completion of the FAFSA and this has facilitated enrollment and access to funding for participants.  The CT Association for Professional Financial Aid Administrators, CAPFAA, has been the sponsoring organization together with national and local partners.  Among them are the State of Connecticut Commission on Equity and Opportunity (CEO), the Connecticut Association of Professional Financial Aid Administrators (CAPFAA), the Connecticut Association of Educational Opportunity Program (CAEOP), the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority (CHESLA) and the National College Access Network (NCAN).

In June 2015, the National College Access Network (NCAN) assumed responsibility for College Goal Sunday.  NCAN’s goal is to help more students navigate the path to and through college and plans to build on the nearly three decades of success of College Goal Sunday to enhance FAFSA completion support to students.  NCAN has a network of nearly 400 college access and success professionals and organizations.  In the last decade, NCAN has grown more than 500 percent, elevating our voice and building the field of college access and success into a national movement.

This year, the event will be held during the month of October.  Between the hours of 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., professional financial aid personnel and other volunteers will assist high school seniors and their families in completing and submitting their FAFSA form online.  Families and students can register and find out more information about the events across the state by visiting www.collegegoalsundayct.org.

The 11 sites for 2016 include:

Sunday, October 16, 2016 – Windsor High School.

Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Gateway Community College/New Haven Promise and Manchester Community College.

Sunday, October 23, 2016 – Eastern Connecticut State University, East Hartford High School, Middlesex Community College, Naugatuck Valley Community College, New London Science and Technology Magnet High School, Norwalk Community College and Hall High School.

Saturday, October 29, 2016 – New Britain High School/American Savings Foundation.

We need qualified financial aid administrators to volunteer as well as friendly helpers to serve as greeters and semi-experts to help the experts. Volunteers are needed to staff registration tables, supervise seating, answer financial aid questions and organize the day’s events. If you would like to volunteer, please visit http://www.collegegoalsundayct.org/.