Dreading your application for federal student aid? You have more time

The FAFSA form must be completed for students to qualify for federal student aid.
The FAFSA form must be completed for students to qualify for federal student aid.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid filing period for the 2017-18 academic year is available on Oct. 1 — three months earlier than in previous years.

For decades, determining eligibility for federal financial aid had been based upon the prior year tax information. However, beginning this October, students will be expected to complete the FAFSA using tax information from two years prior to their anticipated college entrance date.

Need help filing the FAFSA? The McKendree University Office of Financial Aid is offering free workshops in October to help college students and their parents complete the application online. Assistance will be available between 9 a.m. and noon on the following Saturdays: Oct. 1, 8 and 15 in the Piper Academic Center, Room 120, on the university campus at 701 College Road in Lebanon.

For details or to register online, visit

The FAFSA will be submitted online at the workshops. McKendree University financial aid professionals will be on hand to answer questions and offer guidance throughout the process. The following information is necessary to complete the FAFSA:

▪  Social Security Number (or Alien Registration Number for non-U.S. citizen students)

▪  2015 income records, including earnings from work or business, child support paid or received, and any other untaxed income. If available, a W-2 or federal income tax returns are helpful.

▪  Information about assets, such as savings, certificates of deposit, stock options, bonds, 529 plans and other college savings programs; and investment real estate, business and farm.

▪  Driver’s license number

▪  Student’s date of birth

Anyone seeking help, from any college or university, is welcome to take advantage of this opportunity. For more information, call 618-537-6828. The FAFSA website is

SWIC student recognized for skills with air systems

Hard work and knowledge paid off for a Southwestern Illinois College graduate.

Ed Cox, of Granite City, was chosen by the college Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Program for the head of class award, which recognized his talents and dedication to his field while attending.

“I’m honored,” Cox said. “I’m glad that I was the top of the class. In my military career you get all kinds of awards and stuff but I’m pretty stoked about this one.”

Cox finished his associates in applied sciences in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration in the spring. He now works for Viviano Heating and Cooling in Collinsville.

For his success, Cox received not only the recognition but also a prize of two drill attachments and a hat.

“I’m glad I went,” Cox said. “It passed my expectations about what I should learn it helped me discover everything I needed to know to go out and do the job.”

Welding instructor wins teaching award

Welding Technology Coordinator Travis Jumper is Lewis and Clark Community College’s 2016 Emerson Electric Excellence in Teaching Award recipient.

Jumper, of Bethalto, began working at Lewis and Clark in April 2012. He developed the curriculum for the college’s welding technology program and had the first set of welding classes by mid-fall semester that same year.

“It is a huge honor to get the Emerson Award,” Jumper said in a news release. “I never thought about teaching until my high school football coach expressed to me how difficult it was to find instructors for vocational courses. Once I was able to get into a classroom as part of my student teaching experience, I realized how enjoyable it was to help my students learn a skill that will provide them an amazing, well-paying career.”

Jumper received the Howard E. Adkins Memorial Instructor of the Year Award for the St. Louis section of the American Welding Society in 2015.

Lindenwood women’s basketball has fundraiser

The women’s basketball team at Lindenwood University-Belleville has a black tie dinner and auction from 6:30-10 p.m. Oct. 21 at Royal Orleans Banquet Center, 2801 Telegraph Road, St. Louis. The event will feature dinner, an open bar, and live and silent auctions.

Tickets are $50 per person. Vandalia Bus Lines is sponsoring the event. For more information or to purchase tickets, call Katie Golomski at 618-239-6114.

SWIC needs your help

As Southwestern Illinois College’s Adult Education and Literacy department joins in the celebration of National Adult Education and Literacy Week, Literacy Program Director Brenda Boggs is putting out a call for Project Read volunteer tutors.

SWIC is seeking individuals, particularly in the Granite City and East St. Louis regions, willing to commit to tutoring an adult student for two hours per week on reading, writing, English language acquisition or math, based on their student’s needs.

Tutors receive training before being matched with one or more adult learners. Once trained and matched, volunteers receive free books and materials to use for tutoring. Tutors meet students at a public location for scheduled tutoring sessions.

For more information, visit or contact Brenda Boggs by phone at 618-235-2700, ext. 5462, or email at

Jamie Forsythe: 618-239-2562, @BND_JForsythe