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Newspaper Archive of
N. Warren Town and County News
Norwalk, Iowa
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January 14, 2016     N. Warren Town and County News
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January 14, 2016
 

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I Thursday, January 14, 2016 N/Warren Town and County News PageSeven Free Application for Federal For college-bound stu- dents, January brings more than just the start of a new year. January I also marks the availability of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2016-2017 academic year and the first date on which "students can submit their applications. Used to de- termine student eligibility for federal grants, loans and work-study funds from the federal govern- ment, information submit- ted on the FAFSA also plays a factor in determin- ing eligibility for institu- tional and state financial aid programs for many colleges and states, includ- ing Iowa. This year, students must use a FSA ID, intro- duced earlier in 2015, to sign and electronically submit FAFSAs. The FSA ID, consisting of a username and password, replaces the now defunct FAFSA PIN process. This is the last year students and families will have to wait until January to file the FAFSA. For the 2017- 18 academic year, students will be able to submit the form as early as October 1, 2016, and use a 2015 tax return. Completing and filing the FAFSA is not as diffi- cult as many people think. "We encourage students and parents to complete the FAFSA online at' www.fafsa.gov rather than filing a paper form be- cause the help features and built-in edits reduce appli- cant error," explained Karen Misjak, executive director of the Iowa Col- lege Student Aid Commis- sion (Iowa College Aid). "With all of the recent en- hancements to the online form, it only takes about 30 minutes to complete." To help Iowa families, Iowa College Aid offers the following FAFSA filing tips: File the FAFSA what- ever your financial situa- tion. Even if you do not think you will qualify for need-based financial aid, you should still file the FAFSA. Many colleges re- quire that you file the FAFSA to be considered for institutional aid, and in addition, you are required to complete the FAFSA to be eligible for federal Stafford loans. Complet- ing the FAFSA does not obligate you to accept any of the aid offered. Never pay to file the FAFSA. You can file the FAFSA for free at www.fafsa.gov. Reputable free resources, including Iowa College Aid, are available to help. In addi- tion, more than 70 College Goal Sunday events will be held throughout Iowa to provide one-on-one as- sistance with FAFSA filing. Dates and locations of the events can be found at http://www.icansucceed .org/index.cfm?nodeID =82830&audienceID=1. Meet state and college fill'!;'7 .................. Student Aid Now Available deadlines. Many states, including Iowa, have FAFSA filing deadlines for state-funded scholarships, grants and work-study opportunities. Several state of Iowa financial aid programs have priority ill- ing dates as early as March 1. Keep in mind, most col- leges and universities have their own FAFSA filing deadlines. You should check with your college of choice to verify its priority deadline for financial aid and to determine if addi- tional documentation is required. It's easier than ever. One of the more recent enhancements, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows you to automatically trans- fer the required tax infor- mation to the FAFSA, which saves time and re- duces applicant error. You can file your FAFSA prior to completing your 2015 taxes by using estimated income information. The tax data should be avail- able within 1-2 weeks of electronically filing taxes and then the IRS Data Re- trieval Tool can be used to make a FASFA correction, streamlining the comple- tion of the FAFSA. Electronically sign; your FAFSA. The elec- tronic application is not complete until both you and your parent electroni- cally sign the FAFSA using your respective FSA IDs. You can apply for student and parent IDs while com- pleting the FAFSA online, or go to the Federal Stu- dent Aid ID website, https://fsaid.ed.gov, to ob- tain FSA IDs prior to start- ing the FAFSA. In addition to the FAFSA, some Iowa- funded grants and scholar- ships also require the completion of the Iowa Fi- nancial Aid Application. All Iowa residents who complete the FAFSA online have the option to link directly to this appli- cation from their FAFSA confirmation page. Students and families who have questions about applying for financial aid, or who are interested in learning more about the resources available for col- lege and career planning, may contact Iowa College Aid at 877-272-4456 and select option 3, or go to Iowa College Aid's website, www.Iowa CollegeAid.gov. Crayola LLC produces more than 1,500 pounds of Silly Putty each day. That's mo e'tha n'20;000 eggs. Call 911 for emergencies! Keep Iowa Beautiful Fifty years ago small town Iowa represented the cultural image and center for cultural vitality and value development - the hubs of economic and so- cial activity. They pro- duced (and to some degree still produce) some of the greatest leaders in our na- tion. People like Henry A. Wallace, Dr. James Van Allen, John Wayne, Meredith Willson, Grant Wood, John Ruan, Bill Knapp, Walter P. Chrysler, Peggy Whitson, the Phillips brothers, Glen Miller, Frederick L. Maytag and dozens of oth- ers that you can add to the list. The general decline of the small town appears to be inevitable as we con- tinue to follow the "bigger is better" concept. People flocked to the metropoli- tan areas in pursuit of jobs and livelihoods. Small schools disappeared - re- placed by consolidated school districts. Technol- economic and indus- trial progress changed the shape and character of our state. Maybe this is the time to consider reversing that trend by sparking new vi- sions back into the ru_ra! small towns. Those small towns in many instances are important in providing diverse cultural support areas for the large urban centers - i.e. different life styles than those found in the larger communities. They need to work to- gether for the enhance- ment of both. Through increased high speed internet accessing, the business world and livelihoods can again re- turn to small town Iowa. Maybe, with a focused ef- fort, we can revive the sense of community that was once a strong cultural and economic asset of Iowa. At the same time we can still support growing the assets of the metropoli- tan areas. Some studies indicate that the east and west coasts of America are re- discovering the cultural and economic importance of small towns. People are returning to small towns escaping the scale and de- mands of living in large metropolitan areas. Those individuals are looking for a return to community val- ues where they know their next door neighbors, feel a sense of place and owner- ship, feel they can make a difference and recapture that neighborhood front porch feeling. Tied to these factors is the desire for a sense of service, belonging and pride. The feelings that can help determifie the future of where they live and make a difference. Will all communities survive? Some may not, but, they deserve the op- portunity to reshape their futures and develop new leadership with visions for the future. These small towns will not be the same as they were - the future requires a different vision and sense of place. That kind of investment does not take away from the metropolitan areas but provides a supportive ring of small communities pro- viding diverse life styles that can still support those larger areas and enhance the overall diversity and attractiveness of the state. Some specific efforts needed to facilitate the re- vitalization of small town Iowa are: Public matching funds for expansion of the Hometown Pride pro- gram and provision of Community Coaches. Expansion of the der- elict and abandoned building grant program and to include legal assis- tance to small towns to gain possession of der- elict properties. Development of pre- ventative programs to dis- courage future derelict buildings and abandon- ments. Enhancement grants to communities of 10,000 or less to build a sense of pride. Increasing access to Concluded p. 9