Local libraries to host financial aid advisors

Got a kid headed to college in the fall? Advisors will set up shop at Richmond City and Henrico County Libraries to help guide parents and students through the financial aid process—for free!

Photo by: stevendepolo

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, for the 2012-2013 academic year, the cost of one year of undergraduate tuition, room, and board was just over $15,000 at public institutions. Private institutions came in at just over $39,000.

I know, right?

But fear not, parents of college-bound students! Financial aid is out there, and the folks at Great Aspirations Scholarship Program (GRASP) are ready and willing to guide your and your family through the process of acquiring it.

GRASP is a non-profit, charitable organization that helps Virginia students and families secure funding for post-secondary education–both through federal grants and private scholarships. The best part? GRASP offers these services at no charge.

During the months of January and February, GRASP financial advisors will set up shop at Richmond and Henrico libraries to meet with students and their families to assist with the preparation of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Federal Student Aid, which is part of the US Department of Education, is our country’s largest provider of student financial aid. Each year it allocates more than $150 billion in federal grants, loans, and work-study funds to more than 13 million Americans working to continue their education.

Here’s where the GRASP folks will be and when…

  • Mondays in January and Feburary, 6:00 — 8:00 PM at Belmont Library (3100 Ellwood Avenue • 804.646.1139)
  • Tuesday, January 12th, 5:00 — 8:00 PM at Libbie Mill Library (2100 Libbie Lake East Street • 804.290.9400)
  • Saturday, January 23rd, 10:00 AM — 3:00 PM at Main Library (101 E. Franklin Street • 804.646.4867)
  • Wednesday, February 3rd, 5:00 — 8:00 PM at Fairfield Area Library (1001 N. Laburnum Avenue • 804.290.9300)
  • Thursday, February 11th, 5:00 — 8:00 PM at Twin Hickory Library (5001 Twin Hickory Road • 804.290.9200)
  • Saturday, February 27th, 10:00 AM — 3:00 PM at Main Library (101 E. Franklin Street • 804.646.4867)

To schedule an appointment (which is HIGHLY recommended–Richmond Libraries will assist walk-ins if possible, but Henrico isn’t even trying to mess with that), call GRASP at 804.527.7743 or the branch hosting the GRASP event. Requests for appointments at the Henrico County Library locations can also be made online.

What to bring–this applies to students and parents…

  • Financial records (most recent tax return, W-2 forms/pay stubs, bank account information, investment information)
  • Social Security number
  • Driver’s license (if applicable)
  • Permanent residence card if you’re not a US citizen

Students applying for financial aid through FAFSA for the 2016-2017 academic year are advised to submit their applications as soon as possible, but no earlier than January 1, 2016. Applications must be received no later than June 30, 2017. Your college must have your correct, complete information by your last day of enrollment in the 2016-2017 school year.

For more information about GRASP’s financial aid advising services–including its schedule of local in-school workshops–visit grasp4va.org.

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Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

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