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2/5/2010 - Jackson, Miss.

GEAR UP Mississippi (MS) is preparing for a record turnout this year for "College Goal Sunday," an annual statewide event that helps college-bound students and their families complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

College Goal Sunday 2010 in Mississippi will be held from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, February 27 at 42 locations across the state. The event includes a two-hour session on the FAFSA. There will be a drawing for a $500 college scholarship at each site.

"If someone wants to go to college but they aren’t sure how they will pay for it, College Goal Sunday is an excellent resource for free advice," said Lashanda Colbert, state coordinator of the event.

Sponsored by GEAR UP MS, College Goal Sunday provides on-site help from financial aid experts with a focus on FAFSA. Students must fill out the FAFSA to qualify for federal financial aid, such as grants and loans, to help pay for higher education. Many scholarship donors also require students file a FAFSA, and many colleges and universities use the form to make decisions about institutional grant and scholarship awards.

If available, students and their parents should try to bring the following information with them to a designated College Goal Sunday site:

  • Completed IRS 1040 tax returns;
  • W-2 statements (and other 2009 income and benefits information);
  • Current bank statements;
  • Untaxed income records for the previous year (Social Security, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, welfare or veterans benefits records);
  • Driver’s license (if any); and
  • Registration card (if not a U.S. citizen). 

"Applying for financial aid is a critical step in getting ready for college," Colbert says. "The event also will benefit students who are unsure about whether college is right for them and nontraditional students who may need one-on-one guidance."

More than 300 volunteers helped coordinate College Goal Sunday 2009, which served about 600 families. Aside from GEAR UP MS, sponsors for this year’s event include the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, USA Funds, Lumina Foundation for Education, Educational Service Foundation and the YMCA.

For more information or to view a complete list of College Goal Sunday sites visit www.mscollegegoalsunday.org.


GEAR UP Mississippi (MS) operates as part of the Institutions of Higher Learning, Office of Academic and Student Affairs, in collaboration with the Mississippi Department of Education, State Board for Community and Junior Colleges and community and national partners.

GEAR UP MS actively encourages students to set high academic expectations, stay in school, study hard, and take courses that will prepare them to enter and succeed in college. The program provides educational support services to our partner schools throughout Mississippi.

For more information visit www.gearupms.org.

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