College-bound students and their families are being urged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid — better known as FAFSA — as soon as possible to be considered for scholarships and other financial aid.

The form must be completed by April1 for students to receive assistance through the University of Nebraska's Collegebound Nebraska program, for example.

The EducationQuest Foundation in Nebraska and the Iowa College Access Network also are alerting students to start preparing to file the FAFSA.

Les Monroe, EducationQuest's director of college planning, said families should not let tax-filing delays prevent them from submitting the FAFSA on time.

“If you don't have final tax information as FAFSA and scholarship deadlines draw near, use estimated numbers knowing you'll need to correct the FAFSA when your tax information is available,” he said.

Students need to meet their college's priority dates — often between March 1 and April1 — to be eligible for aid that is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

In Iowa, college-bound students can get free help with the FAFSA at one of the Iowa College Goal Sunday events being held in 36 locations throughout the state between Feb. 16 and Feb.24. Clarinda, Creston, Denison and Sioux City are among the locations where the events will be held.

Visit fafsa.gov to complete the application for free. A tutorial, a video and a checklist are among free tools available at EducationQuest.org to help complete the form. EducationQuest also provides assistance by appointment or over the telephone. Locations are in Kearney, 800-666-3721; Lincoln, 800-303-3745; and Omaha, 888-357-6300.

For more information about Iowa College Goal Sunday, visit www.IowaCGS.org, or call the Iowa College Access Network at 877-272-4692.

Wesleyan is offering graduation guarantee

Nebraska Wesleyan University has announced a guarantee program to ensure that students graduate in four years.

The private university in Lincoln promises that it will pay the remaining educational costs for students who meet the guarantee program's requirements but do not complete a degree within four years. The requirements allow time for students to participate in activities such as internships, campus leadership, service learning, research and study abroad while making satisfactory progress on their coursework.

Nebraska Wesleyan's current four-year graduation rate is 83percent, one of the highest in the state.

Two at Creighton earn St. Ignatius Awards

Creighton University has selected Patty Perry, its director of events management, and Charles F. Austerberry, an assistant professor of molecular biology and protozoology, for its 2013 St. Ignatius Awards.

The award is given to faculty and staff members who demonstrate the public service and spirituality ideals of St. Ignatius.

A nominator said Perry has a “unique ability to encourage others to give their best.”

“She always goes above and beyond the call of duty, because the activities she is involved in reflect on Creighton and the people who live, work and teach here,” the nominator wrote.

Austerberry has received several teaching awards and is known for his patience and empathy with students. He has published articles on the topics of faith and science and has been active in the Omaha Together One Community organization.

The awards will be presented at Creighton's Founders Week Mass, at noon Feb. 6 at St.John Catholic Church on campus.

Contact the writer: 402-473-9581, leslie.reed@owh.com

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