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By Elisa Polanco

CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – You don’t very often hear college students say they don’t know what FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is, but not all college students know about it and the help it can give them in pursuing their education.

Freddi-Beth Rockenbach works in the financial aid office at Camden County College in Blackwood. By Elisa Polanco, CCC Journalism Program

Freddi-Beth Rockenbach works in the financial aid office at Camden County College in Blackwood. By Elisa Polanco, CCC Journalism Program

FAFSA is an application the student fills out to receive financial aid or to check their eligibility for financial aid. FAFSA should be completed as soon as possible after Jan. 1 of the year the student plans to attend college.

New to the FAFSA application for 2014-15 is a data retrieval tool that was made available Feb. 2. This tool helps the applicant pre-fill the application if they file their tax return electronically, rather than having to look for their tax information and enter everything manually.

The online FAFSA is fairly simple to complete with step-by-step directions on the website, www.FAFSA.gov.

Camden County College student Brittany Byrnes, 19, said she was very disappointed at times with FAFSA. “They give very little money and expect me to fill out information about taxes even if I haven’t filed them yet. Also, the deadlines are too soon,” Byrnes said. “It helped me through, but it could have definitely helped me more.”

Samuel Watson, who is in his first year back as a student at Camden County College, gave a more favorable impression of FAFSA. “I’ve received $2,000 this year, which is well enough to cover my classes, and I’m guessing another $6,000 for my next three years I’ll be here at Camden County College.”

The financial aid offices on the Blackwood and Camden campuses have more information about FAFSA.

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