BOSTON (CBS) – I have been thinking about college planning this week! Because….

Next Sunday, the 29th, is the Massachusetts College Goal Sunday. This is a program that provides free information and assistance to Massachusetts families applying for financial aid.

There are over 25 locations in Massachusetts where these workshops will be held next Sunday and the program starts at 2 pm. They would like students to pre-register so that everyone attending gets the help they need.

This year they are also providing some alternative dates, starting with this Wednesday and Thursday and then on Monday the 30th. Check their website for more information.

There will be financial aid professionals from Massachusetts colleges and universities to help families and students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is required from students seeking financial aid, including grants and loans.

I downloaded the (FAFSA) form to review it and found it fairly straight forward to fill out. If this is your first experience with the form, I would recommend you get a copy and review it before you show up on Sunday. They want financial information about the parents such as your income, assets and savings.

In my opinion, the form is not entirely fair, but nobody asked me. If the student has divorced parents who have remarried, they ask the custodial parent to fill out the form with information on the step-parent to be included.

The income and assets of the step-parent are required even if the step-parent has no intention of helping with the college expenses.

In many divorce agreements there are arrangements already in place for who pays what for college for the kids but you should still fill out a form to see if you are eligible for aid.

The sooner you get this form in the better your chances are for getting aid. I am serious about this, get it in too late and there may not be any money left for the schools to give out. They like to send out the acceptance letter and often with it is another letter, the award letter, with your financial-aid offer.

The deadline for Massachusetts is May 1, federally its June 30 and the different schools may have different deadlines.

You need to plan on being there a couple of hours and need to bring some information with you.

What to Bring –

  • 2011 Federal Tax Return if it’s done, if not bring 2010 tax return
  • Social Security numbers
  • Driver’s license
  • 2011 W-2 Forms or year-end pay stubs and other year-end
    records of money received such as 1099s
  • Current bank and investment statements
  • 2011 business and investment information
  • Your alien registration card (if you are not a U.S. citizen)

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