The deadline to turn in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or, FAFSA in early February is just around the corner. Those who are fairly new to the process could use a little extra help. "I know there are a ton of resources out there for parents with college age students, but I really don't know much about it," Don Treeger chuckled.

It's why parents and students alike found themselves at American International College Sunday afternoon. They came to hear what Congressman Richard Neal, AIC alum and the first person in his family to go to college had to say at his annual financial aid seminar. "I think this is an opportunity to gather information, I think this is a chance for people to go back and forth with individuals who really knew something about it," Neal stated.

While the process can be overwhelming, there are several things you can do to make sure you maximize your FAFSA, like making sure you completely and correctly fill out the form, attaching a supplemental letter to explain your situation, and no matter what, do not lie about your income or assets. "Be honest on the FAFSA, be honest with the financial aid office. sometimes what you put on the FAFSA might not reflect your current financial situation, but still fill out the form correctly, contact the financial aid office, and they will make the adjustments, and they will work with you to make sure you receive everything you're eligible for," advised Sage Stachowiak, AIC's Director of Financial Aid. It might also be beneficial for high school seniors to contact the financial aid office at the school of their choice. "Build a relationship with the financial aid department at the college so that they can better inform that student about what the process would be like," AIC senior Dana Murray added. You can still file a FAFSA even though you think you're not eligible and you can appeal a package if you're disappointed with it. The seminar was a part of the state's 9th Annual FAFSA Day.

Roll the tape!