Written by Alexis B, Junior:
When I was looking at colleges as a junior and senior in high school, there was one factor that intimidated me above all else- price. However, I knew that financial aid could help make my dream of higher education attainable. I learned about the FREE Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) from my high school counselor, and I was eager to fill it out and find out what kind of aid I would receive to help me afford school. However, when I sat down to fill it out, I was pretty confused and had a lot of questions, but I knew I had to do it in order to maximize the aid I could receive. I know for many students, the FAFSA seems too intimidating, and they chose not to fill it out, even though most students will qualify for some financial aid. This leaves a lot of money on the table that could be helpful in financing college. Confusion, concern about time and effort, and a lack of knowledge about the FAFSA are major reasons preventing students from receiving the aid they could be getting to help make the price of higher education less intimidating. Luckily, the UW-Madison Office of Student Financial Aid can eliminate those barriers by helping students complete the FAFSA efficiently with expert help.
Last year I found out that the Office of Student Financial Aid hosts FAFSA Frenzy events throughout the fall semester and at various locations around campus that are easy to get to. All I had to do is show up with a laptop (they even had some available for students who weren’t able to bring their own), my FSA ID, and federal tax information. If students didn’t have this information, the team walked them through the steps and answered any other questions about receiving financial aid. The office brings a team of experts to answer questions and help students through the process. My favorite part, of course, was the free lunch that is available at every FAFSA Frenzy event.
Not only did I leave with a completed FAFSA and full stomach, but I also left having enjoyed the company of staff and other students. Other students have also had great experiences. “I came to two FAFSA Frenzy events because I tried doing it on my own, but a lot of the documents were confusing. I’ve gotten a lot of assistance from leaders from the program and all sorts of people from the financial aid office. Now I’m done with it and I’m just enjoying a meal and hanging out with some people I’ve met.” – Sarah, Freshman (2018)
FAFSA Frenzy events are open to ALL students. More information about FAFSA Frenzy and community support can be found online www.financialaid.wisc.edu/frenzy. You’ll also see information posted in various locations around campus.
If your can’t make a FAFSA Frenzy event, the OSFA team of experts is also available to help during our “Drop In Office Hours” held around campus or by scheduling a one-on-one appointment through the Starfish tool in your MyUW portal.