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University of Alaska Makes Big Splash for FAFSA

For Immediate Release
Friday, Jan. 29, 2010


The University of Alaska on Monday kicks off a statewide effort aimed
at getting more financial aid into the hands of its 33,700 students.

The FAFSA Frenzy, as it’s called, is a month-long campaign designed to
get more students to fill out their Free Application for Federal
Student Aid (the FAFSA). The FAFSA form is used for all forms of aid,
including low-interest federal loans, university grants and even
private scholarships from the University of Alaska Foundation.

"Students from all income levels who complete the FAFSA have more
choices when it comes to paying for school, books, rent and other
necessities," said Barbara Burnett, financial aid director for the
University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau. "This year, it’s easier than
ever to complete the application; if you get stuck, there is someone
at each campus to help."

The form, which takes about 5-30 minutes to complete depending on the
student, can be found online at www.FAFSA.gov. The university promotes
its FAFSA events at www.alaska.edu/fafsafrenzy. UA’s FAFSA mascot,
Freddie the Fish, even has his own Facebook page. Freddie will make
guest appearances on different UA campuses over the next month.

FAFSA promotions also include drawings for four $100 cash cards,
University of Alaska winter hats and other prizes.

UA financial aid advisors say students and families should always look
to their college savings (including UA College Savings Plan accounts),
grants and scholarships, and then federal loans. Private educational
loans, while necessary sometimes, can come at higher rates. Federal
loans have fixed low-interest rates, allow payment deferments during
school and include other features, such as hardship status deferment
and loan forgiveness for certain job sectors. Federal loans tend to be
easier to get, as they don’t have the same credit requirements as
private loans. And the federal Stafford loan program is available for
all income levels.

The University of Alaska awards more than $100 million in financial
aid each year. Completing the FAFSA is more important than ever
because federal aid has increased over the past two years. The Pell
Grant, for example, will be $5,550 for the 2010-2011 year. Independent
students will need their W-2 form and latest tax return to fill out
the FAFSA. The parent who provided over 50 percent of a dependent
student’s care will need their family W-2 and latest tax return to get
started.

Last year’s effort resulted in a 22 percent increase in FAFSA
applications over the prior February.

The following help sessions are scheduled for UA’s current and
incoming students during the FAFSA Frenzy:

University of Alaska Fairbanks – 1-2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, Room
301 Rasmuson Library.

Tanana Valley Campus – 6 p.m. Thursdays, TVC Computer Lab.

University of Alaska Southeast – 3 p.m. Feb. 3, Egan Room 105; 2 p.m.
Feb. 7, Student Recreation Center; 10 a.m. Feb. 9, Egan Room 105; and
4 p.m. Feb. 18, Egan Room 105.

University of Alaska Anchorage – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday-Friday, One
Stop Center at the University Mall, 3901 Old Seward Highway.

All other campuses – Drop-In at the Financial Aid Office.

-30-


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