The University of Tennessee at Martin will provide assistance to those seeking information about federal financial aid.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid – known by its acronym, FAFSA – went through a number of changes this year and was released two months later than usual.
Jana Cox, the director of financial aid and scholarships, said that February is Financial Aid Awareness Month, and her office is using that month to help people fill out this year’s FAFSA form.
“We chose that month to do a good push-out for all of FAFSA information coming out,” she said. “We want to reach out to all of our returning students because we feel that those are the ones who are going to struggle the most completing the FAFSA – only because they’ve done it before and they are the ones who are going to see the biggest changes.”
To start the month on Thursday, Feb. 1, there will be two information sessions: a student information session and a Zoom call for parents.
“In the student information session, we will be available from noon to 3 p.m. at Room 111 of the Boling University Center,” Cox said. “We’ll be there so they can ask questions and so we can provide information.
“Later that evening, we’re going to do a Zoom call for parents from 6 to 8 p.m. We’ll give a presentation to parents about what has changed and what is expected, and they can ask questions any time during that presentation.”
Parents and students can take part in the Zoom meeting by going here.
“The FAFSA form is completely different, and there are some different rules that apply to it,” Cox said. “Some things we want to go over with applicants. We want to explain what ‘consent’ means. Consent is when they will give access to the Department of Education to reach out to the IRS and grab that information.
“Also, they’ve relabeled people who contribute to the FAFSA; they’re calling them ‘contributors.’ We want to make sure that parents understand that ‘contributor’ doesn’t mean they are actually expected to contribute to the education.”
Other help sessions provided by the UTM Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will be held in Room 111 of the Boling University Center. The times and dates for those sessions are:
• 9 a.m.-noon, Wednesday, Feb. 7
• 1-4 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 15
• 5-8 p.m., Monday, Feb. 19
Those taking part in these sessions are asked to bring their laptop.
More information about the FAFSA forms can be found on the Financial Aid and Scholarships page at www.utm.edu or on the UT Martin Financial Aid Facebook page.
Additional help can be obtained through the UT Martin One Stop office at 224 Clement Hall from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or by calling 731-881-4677 during those hours.