Does the idea of filling out government financial aid forms leave you cold? Consider logging onto the Get Schooled this weekend, where a cheery set of videos (featuring First Lady Michelle Obama) and step-by-step instructions from advisers willing to work with students online could provide the necessary boost.
That’s a very good thing, because 1 million students who qualify for college money never file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (better known as FAFSA), and leave thousands of dollars on the table.
Despite its name, the FAFSA is not a single program, but rather the gateway for nine federal student-aid programs, 605 state-aid programs and most of the financial aid available through individual colleges and universities.
Get Schooled, a nonprofit supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will run its FAFSA Forward Weekend through Feb. 17, both to raise awareness about the availability of financial aid funds and to help students complete the forms, which take less than an hour to fill out.
Too busy this weekend? Get Schooled also lists in-person workshops statewide where you can go for help through mid-April. But hurry. Funds are dispersed on a first-come, first-served basis, and the clock for the 2014-’15 school year has already begun ticking.