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January 30, 2012 - Higher Education Chancellor Elected Vice Chair of Southern Regional Education Board RSS feed

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High school seniors looking for federal and state financial aid to attend college this fall should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible, according to the Oklahoma College Assistance Program (OCAP).

“Students who complete the FAFSA have access to numerous state and federal grants, work-study programs and federal student loans,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “Although classes start in the fall, financial aid is awarded much earlier to eligible students on a first-come, first-served basis.”

Many students underestimate their financial need or assume they won’t qualify for financial aid, but every student should complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after Jan. 1 of the senior year of high school and every year aid is needed. In addition, beginning in 2012, high school seniors participating in the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship program must complete the FAFSA to comply with new program requirements.

The fastest, simplest way to complete the application is online at fafsa.gov. The online FAFSA now features skip-logic technology that eliminates irrelevant questions based on the applicant’s previous answers. Additionally, tax information can be retrieved electronically from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and inserted into the application, and students and parents can apply for a personal identification number (PIN), which allows required signatures to be made electronically. The U.S. Department of Education estimates the form will take most families less than an hour to complete.

Campus financial aid offices can confirm school-specific deadlines and provide assistance during the application process. There’s no charge to complete or submit the FAFSA, so students and parents should be wary of organizations that charge a fee for these services.

OCAP is offering free materials and supporting campus-based FAFSA education events for families across the state. To learn more about the financial aid process, OCAP materials or campus events in your area, call OCAP toll free at 866-443-7420 or visit ucango2.org.

The Oklahoma College Assistance Program (OCAP), an operating division of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, provides college access, aid awareness, financial literacy and student loan management programs and services that benefit students, parents, schools and community partners. Formerly known as the Oklahoma Guaranteed Student Loan Program, OCAP has served as Oklahoma's designated guarantor for the Federal Family Education Loan Program for more than 45 years..