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FAFSA frenzy

Jacqueline Riley, left, works with her parents, John and Connie, to fill out the Free Application for Student Federal Aid at Sunday’s FAFSA Frenzy event at Nichol’s Career Center. Jacqueline, a Helias senior, hopes to study dentistry in college.

Jacqueline Riley, left, works with her parents, John and Connie, to fill out the Free Application for Student Federal Aid at Sunday’s FAFSA Frenzy event at Nichol’s Career Center. Jacqueline, a Helias senior, hopes to study dentistry in college.

Jefferson City High School senior Cassidi Surface wants to go on to earn a degree in political science.

One of her first big steps toward pursuing her higher education was on Sunday, when she filled out a FAFSA application at a Nichols Career Center event.

FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It’s an umbrella application that’s the first step in applying for most federal, state and institutional financial aid.

Cassidi attended the “FAFSA Frenzy” event with her father, Billy.

She said she hasn’t decided where she’ll attend college yet, but hopes to get a four-year degree in political science and eventually be a lobbyist.

“There’s something new every day at the Capitol,” she said. “You’re not going through the motions. You’re always talking about something new.”

She said she attended the event because the A+ Program requires her to submit a FAFSA application. The worry for her and her father, however, is that not all four-year schools participate in the scholarship program.

“Some four-year schools give you $1,000 a year, but not all have” the A+ program, she said.

The state’s Department of Higher Education is holding 55 “FAFSA Frenzy” events throughout Missouri. Each is staffed with people who can help with the application process. This year marks the 10th year that Missouri has held statewide events to help students and their parents complete the FAFSA, which can be filled out online.

The events are part of the state’s goal of having 60 percent of adults possess a degree or high quality certificate by 2025. Currently, about 46 percent of Missourians ages 25-64 hold a postsecondary certificate or higher.

State higher education officials encourage all high school students considering higher education to fill out the FAFSA, even students who think they wouldn’t qualify for financial aid. The U.S. Department of Education provides more than $150 billion to help students with financial needs to attend college.

Students who missed Sunday’s event can start the application process at www.fafsa.ed.gov/.

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