College Planning Center provides free guidance to families applying for financial aid


January 28th marked the end of Financial Aid Awareness Week, but many of Rhode Island’s families are just getting started with the college financial aid process.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, more commonly referred to as the FAFSA, is essential for families looking to apply for college financial aid. All schools use this application to award federal student aid and many use it to determine how much institutional aid a family is eligible for. Students looking to apply for a Rhode Island State Grant must file this form by March 1.

Seventy thousand students in Rhode Island are expected to submit the FAFSA this year. Yet, many parents and students find this form complicated and confusing. Free one-on-one assistance completing this form is available at the College Planning Center of Rhode Island, a free service of Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA).

“Many families that would be eligible for aid simply do not apply because they aren’t sure how to approach the FAFSA,” Noel Simpson, Deputy Director and Chief Financial Officer of RISLA said in a statement. Simpson is also a top organizer for College Goal Rhode Island, a free event held each year by the Rhode Island Association of Financial Aid Administrators, the YMCA and the Lumina Foundation.

“We want to get the message out there that they don’t have to struggle alone with this form. If they weren’t able to attend this year’s College Goal Rhode Island, the College Planning Center is here to help,” he said.

The end of Gov. Chafee’s financial aid awareness week was marked with the 5th annual College Goal Rhode Island. Over 200 students and parents showed up to the seven locations statewide to get free step-by-step assistance completing the FAFSA.

All of the College Planning Center of Rhode Island’s services are provided free-of-charge by RISLA, a non-profit state authority. The CPCRI has been providing expert in-person and web-based college planning guidance to students and parents since 1998. The CPCRI offers one-on-one college planning counseling, informational seminars, and online tools to promote college planning and financial aid awareness among Rhode Islanders. For more information, please visit


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