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Congressman Lance

Congressman Lance

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Coming soon to a guidance office near you: your congressman? Associated Press Congressman Leonard Lance of New JerseyTonight, Representative Leonard Lance, a New Jersey Republican, will host a free higher education financial aid forum for parents and students from 6:30 p.m.

to 8 p.m.

at Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg, N.J.

He is not alone.

Politicians across the country have been offering programs to help constituents figure out how to pay for college.

Since January, such events have been held in New York, Texas, Delaware, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.Mr.

Lance's event will feature financial aid experts from three New Jersey colleges and universities — Kean University, Raritan Valley Community College and Rutgers University.Mr.

Lance said he hopes the event will help families "navigate the maze of financial aid."Angie Lundberg, Congressman Lance's communications director, called the forum "one-stop shopping" that will "bring the people who have questions together with the people who have answers." Events held elsewhere have seen mixed success.

Steven Roy Goodman, an educational consultant who spoke at an event sponsored by State Senator Bill Perkins, a New York City Democrat, in Harlem in February, said more than 250 people attended.

What made the turnout even more impressive, Mr.

Goodman said, was that the event was held at 10 a.m.

on a Saturday.

In addition to families, "There were parents who came alone and kids who came in groups by themselves," Mr.

Goodman said.

"People were super hungry for information.

They were very appreciative that Senator Perkins put this together.''Stephanie Fitzpatrick, the press secretary for Congressman Mike Castle, a Delaware Republican, said roughly 60 people attended the representative's second annual financial aid event in April.

"With the economy as it is,'' she said, "the Congressman feels it's important to connect constituents with resources that are available." She said the majority of questions revolved around the Fafsa — the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which many parents and students find intimidating.In January, Representative Richard E.

Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat, held a financial aid seminar to coincide with an event sponsored by College Goal Sunday, a volunteer program that offers free information and aid for families applying for financial aid and filling out the Fafsa.Similarly, in April, Representative Patrick J.

Murphy, a Pennsylvania Democrat, held a higher education workshop and invited students to bring their Fafsas and stay after the event to complete their forms with members of financial aid programs.



http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/22/need-help-with-financial-aid-check-with-your-congressman/
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