Officials urge parents to file for student aid

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — February is Financial Aid Awareness Month, and officials are urging parents of college-bound kids not to delay seeking assistance.

The agency that administers Illinois' need-based financial aid is hosting nearly 200 events this month. They're posted on the website of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

Executive Director Eric Zarnikow says it's especially important in uncertain economic times to get a quick start applying for funds.

Many of the events for this month are geared toward helping parents fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid forms. The FAFSA forms are key to determining eligibility for an array of aid.

Eligibility for state MAP grants that don't have to be repaid is based on FAFSA applications. And last year, MAP-grant funds were essentially depleted by April.

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