FAFSA night provides key financial information for college


Sam Smith

Over 450 students and parents swarm the Kennesaw Mountain High School theater for FAFSA night. Almost every single seat was filled with people eager to hear about federal and state grants for college.

Sam Smith, Reporter

Hundreds of high school students and parents flocked to Kennesaw Mountain High School’s theater on September 20, to attend the county’s Federal Aid night. Marcus Hillard, a representative from the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC), discussed requirements for the HOPE (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) and Zell Miller scholarships, the best ways to apply for federal and state education grants, and changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Approximately 450 people showed up to the seminar, packing the theater to the brim. Parents drove for ten minutes to find parking due to the crowd.

“I was surprised by how many people showed up. My dad said that last time only a third of the auditorium was full, but [tonight], people could not sit down,” NC senior Sarah Baker said.

While Hillard disclosed tips, tricks, and shortcuts to receiving financial aid, his audience’s demographics surprised listeners more than the actual content of his presentation.

“I was surprised by how many students came with their parents,” NC senior Adaugo Okpareke said. “I thought people would [say]: well, my parents are paying for my education so they should go.”

Hillard discussed in detail the requirements needed to receive the HOPE and Zell Miller grants, both in high school and college. He also described  the “checkpoint” system which Georgia uses to ensure students keep up their exemplary academic performance.

With the advice, a student can avoid debt, stress, and headaches during the application process and use all of the available resources.

“I came to FAFSA night because I realized how expensive college will be, and I really really need the money. I don’t want to take out student loans; that’s a last resort,” NC senior Madhu Kamarajugadda said.