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The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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Students Participate in FAFSA workshop with TRIO SSS

Whitney Veazey
A student works on filling their 2024 FAFSA form.

On Feb. 7 and 8, TRIO Student Support Services hosted a FAFSA workshop at room B27 of Collier Library. 

The event functioned around a ‘come and go’ system where students could walk in the room, be assisted by Ms. Thigpen and Ms. Joiner from the UNA Student Financial Aid Office, and leave with their forms ready for submission. The workshop was promoted for TRIO SSS students only.

The FAFSA Simplification Act of 2020 has changed the form filling process in ways such as “replacing the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with the Student Aid Index (SAI), modifications to Family Definitions in FAFSA Formulas, expanding access to Federal Pell Grants, and streamlining the FAFSA form. [Now,] all contributors must also consent to using the Direct Data Exchange between the IRS and the Department of Education in order for a student to be considered for federal aid,” as mentioned by Thigpen.

In a time of change for a process many students already consider challenging, TRIO staff decided to put together a workshop for the program’s members. They contacted the Financial Aid Office employees, who were “very willing and happy to partner,” as said Autumn Terry, TRIO’s academic coordinator. 

“I believe the importance of this workshop is the extra layer of support it gives to our students,” Terry said. “Things like the FAFSA can be daunting and intimidating, especially for at-risk students. My hope is by offering workshops like these we are able to show our students we care and we have their backs.”

The Student Office of Financial Aid and TRIO SSS staff, counting with the program’s director Christian Jones, spent both days of the workshop paying close attention to each student, carefully guiding and explaining the FAFSA process. 

Each person’s form took between 30 to 40 minutes to complete. However, student’s lack of preparation made some forms take longer to fill out. Some did not know their parents’ Social Security numbers, which is critically important information for filling out the FAFSA. Luckily, there were two days of event, so if one could not reach their parents to ask for the number, they could come back on the second day.

The federally funded TRIO SSS program is in its second year at UNA. Its purpose is to provide academic, personal, career-related and financial support to its students in order for them to succeed at the university and in their future lives.

TRIO is funded on the basis of equity. It carefully analyzes students’ needs and resources to give them an equitable opportunity to succeed. In order to be a TRIO SSS student, one must be a first generation college student, be registered with UNA Disability Support Services or demonstrate financial need.

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About the Contributors
Manuela Ludolf, Staff Writer
Whitney Veazey, Chief Photographer
Whitney is a sophomore from Greenville, Ala. She is working towards a BFA with a concentration in photography. Whitney started at The Flor-Ala in Fall 2022 as a staff writer/photographer and is currently serving as chief photographer.

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