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MPS marshals help for families filling out FAFSAs

Last month, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan visited Minneapolis’ South High School to talk to seniors about the newly simplified Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. South’s overachievers were polite, but steered the conversation to hard-core policy questions.

Your Humble Blogger was so blown away by their collective poise and quick wits that she completely forgot to report on the other local news angle of the day: In an effort to increase the number of high-school grads who complete the form, Minneapolis Public Schools has declared this month FAFSA February.

Every MPS high school has a Career and College Center, which South’s policy bird-doggers have clearly been patronizing. But most kids can’t complete the forms themselves, and the sad reality is that lots of them come from homes where college is too quickly presumed out of the financial picture.

So the district is sweetening the pot by holding a series of events where families can get help filling out the FAFSA and completing their income taxes.

On Sunday, Feb. 12, from 2-5 p.m. financial advisers from La Conexion of the Americas, H & R Block, Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), the University of St. Thomas and other local businesses and colleges will be on hand to help families complete tax forms and the FAFSA in MCTC’s library.

Families can park for free in MCTC’s Hennepin Avenue ramp or ride buses that will pick up at 1:30 p.m. at Roosevelt and Patrick Henry high school. Families can sign up through their school’s counseling office or Career and College Center.

Ten more FAFSA February events will be held in the community:

Feb. 8: South High School from 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Plymouth Youth Center from 5-7:30 p.m.

Feb. 13: South High School from 2-4 p.m.

Feb. 21: Southwest High School from 5:30-7:30 p.m., American Indian Opportunities Industrialization Center from 5-7:30 p.m.

Feb. 22: Urban League Academy High School from 4-7 p.m.; Menlo Park Academy from 5:30-8 p.m.

Feb. 23: South High School from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Feb. 24: Patrick Henry High School from 8:30 a.m.- p.m.

March 8: Southwest High School from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

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