By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Volunteers at Bluefield State College scored big Sunday afternoon as scores of college-bound students and families came out to take advantage of the “College Goal Sunday” event, designed to help students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and put them on a course of maximizing their financial aid potential.
“I think it’s great to see all of these students and their families coming out to get assistance with their FAFSA applications, but I think it’s also great to see all of these staff members who gave up their Sunday afternoon to help these students,” Dr. Marsha Krotseng, BSC president said. “They believe in helping students get access to student aid.”
“Of course, we would like them to consider attending Bluefield State, but I think everyone here wants to help these students get all of the financial aid they can get, wherever they decide to attend college,” Krotseng said.
“This is all about helping the students,” Deirdre Guyton, director of alumni affairs at BSC said. “When it comes to Bluefield State, I’m always going to say that I love this school, but we’re all here to help the students get all the student aid they can get. We don’t even like to mention loans.”
Guyton and Angela Wassum were staffing the video classroom on the third floor of the W. Paul Cole School of Business in Mahood Hall on the BSC campus. Guyton and Wassum showed a video introduction to the FAFSA application completion process and answered questions about the process.
“Last year, the video was 30 minutes,” Guyton said. “That was a little long. This year’s video was much more concise. I think it held people’s attention.”
From the video classroom, the students and family members went to a classroom filled with work stations where they received personal attention in filling out the FAFSA forms.
“This was very helpful,” Anggua Rowe, of Bradshaw, said. “Last year, when I applied for financial aid, I did it myself. This way was much easier.”
Rowe brought her son, Dominick Rowe, to College Goal so he could benefit from the assistance in preparing the application.
“I haven’t decided what I want to study in college yet,” he said. “I might try science or I might study to become a lawyer.” He also has not made up his mind about where he will attend college, but he added: “Probably here,” he said.
Dustin Blankenship, of Bluefield, said that the process was involved, but everyone he met was very helpful. Participants received snacks and were encouraged to register for prizes.
Dr. Sarita Rhonemus, director of outreach programs at BSC, said that 53 volunteers were assisting students and families who were participating in the event.
“This is our fourth year of working with College Goal,” Rhonemus said. “We had 25 pre-registered to attend,” but by 3 p.m., she was able to report that 90 participants had already gone through the process.
“This is the most we’ve ever had,” she said. “Several are first-time college students, but we also have adults who are coming back to school. We’re one of 23 locations statewide that is participating in College Goal Sunday.”
Concord University and the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center were also participating in College Goal Sunday among the 23 locations statewide.
— Contact Bill Archer at firstname.lastname@example.org