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PRESS RELEASE- Downing Urges Constituents to Apply for Financial Aid Now
January 12, 2007

Boston - Last year, Massachusetts students received more than $1 billion in grants and low-interest loans from federal and state governments, as well as millions of dollars in scholarships from colleges and universities. However, many students and their families are either unaware that such resources exist, and may need help navigating the often cumbersome process of seeking out and applying for financial aid.  Fortunately, free help is available to help guide applicants through this process.


“Students planning to attend college next fall should begin the financial aid application process now,” said State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D - Pittsfield).  “While substantial aid is available, students should apply early, preferably by March 1, and investigate all possible sources of aid.” 


Federal and state governments, along with colleges and universities, are the major sources of financial aid.  Students begin the process of applying for both federal and state aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  This document is available online at, and it is preferable that students complete the application online.  Many private colleges and universities also require a second form, the CSS PROFILE, which is also available online at


For assistance with these applications, and with general questions about financial aid, students and family members are encouraged to call 1-877-ED-AID-4U (1-877-332-4348).  This toll-free hotline is operated by The Education Resources Institute (TERI) and supported by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA), and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.


One-on-one guidance is also available at TERI College Access Centers in Boston, Brockton, Cambridge and Chelsea and through Educational Opportunity Centers (EOCs) located in Brockton, Lynn, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Springfield, and Worcester.


“Students and their families should be aware that funds exist to help ease the financial burden of attending college, added Downing.  “It takes time and patience to uncover these sources, and to get through the application process. For those looking for financial help, I urge you to get started now. ”


TERI College Access Centers provide free, one-on-one information and advice on applying for financial aid and other concerns related to college planning.  All TERI College Access Center and EOC services are free. For guidance over the phone or information on the closest Center to you, please call 1-877-ED-AID-4U (1-877-332-4348). 






Pittsfield                                 The Learning Connection

                                                10 Lyman Street

Pittsfield, MA   01201

                                                (413) 499-9531


Greater Springfield                Valley Opportunity Center

Educational Opportunity Center

                                                152 Center Street

Chicopee, MA   01013

                                                (413) 612-0206





TERI Information Hotline, 1-877-ED-AID-4U (1-877-332-4348), offers information about public and private colleges, job training programs, careers, admissions tests, financial aid and other topics related to college planning.  Hours are Monday - Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.


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