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Financial aid class offered

CONYERS - Passing that first college science class may be easier for some students than filling out college financial aid forms.

High school and college counselors understand this sentiment, so they try to provide several opportunities for students and their families to explain the financial aid process and assist them in filling out required forms.

Beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday, Rockdale, Newton and Walton County high school students and their families are invited to participate in College Goal Sunday, a national volunteer program in which local school systems organize smaller workshops for area students.

"College Goal Sunday brings our high school students together with tools they need to apply for much-needed money for college for free," said Candace Ford, director of student support at RCPS and site coordinator for the event. "The focus of College Goal Sunday is to encourage access to financial resources to all seniors."

The national College Goal Sunday had been scheduled for Feb. 15, but Winter Break is scheduled for Newton and Rockdale public schools beginning Feb. 16, so the local event was moved to this Sunday.

The regional event will take place at Salem High School, which is located at 3551 Underwood Road in Conyers.

At 2 p.m., families will start to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid online in the school computer labs with help from experts in the field.

"Parents or guardians may bring their tax forms ... so that they can set up their online IDs and apply immediately for financial aid assistance," Ford said. "It is very important that the process be initiated soon because the funding stream for revenue is limited. The sooner our students apply for aid, the more likely they are to obtain it."

Craig Dowling, assistant superintendent of support services at RCPS, said families will be able to talk to financial aid professionals about resources and how to apply for college, as well as get information about state student services, admission requirements and other questions they may have.

Also at the event, current high school seniors who will attend college can register to be one of 18 in Georgia to win a $500 scholarship for higher education.

Families of high school seniors who have uncomplicated tax returns and who earn less than $50,000 per year should plan to be at the school from noon until 2 p.m. in order to receive tax assistance, Ford said. They also must attend the 2 p.m. workshop. Child care is available for children ages 4 and older.

More information about the event is available at www.rockdale.k12.ga.us or www.collegegoalsundayga.com.