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Taking the fear out of financial aid

Millions of students who apply for federal student financial aid this

year will find the process easier and faster than ever before, according to the

U.S. Department of Education.

This year, about $51 billion in federal grants, loans and work-study

opportunities will be awarded to more than 8 million students.

The following are some facts useful for potential applicants:

Applying for federal aid is free. Filling out the Free Application

for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in the process. Students

can file electronically or on a paper application.

Electronic filing is faster, less

error-prone. The Web site to file electronically is www.fafsa.ed.gov.

Reapplying for aid is simplified. Students can add a minimal

amount of new information on the 2000-2001 renewal form and update any

information that has changed since last year.

In addition to federal grants, loans and work-study, families can take

advantage of education tax credits; up to $1,500 for the HOPE tax credit

for each student enrolled in the first two years of college or vocational school.

Or, $1,000 for the Lifetime Learning tax credit is available for

those beyond the first two years of study — vocational, college, graduate and

professional schools or adults taking classes part-time to improve or

upgrade their jobs.

To take advantage of the HOPE and Lifetime Learning tax credits,

taxpayers must submit IRS form 8863 with their federal tax return. For

more information, call the IRS help line at (800) 829-1040 or visit the U.S.

Treasury Department's Web site at www.irs.gov.

Mount Si grad joins CWU flight team

North Bend's M'Lynda Henninger, a 1998 graduate of

Mount Si High, has joined Central Washington University's National

Intercollegiate Flight Association (NIFA) flight team.

The CWU squad is the only such team in NIFA Region XI, CWU

flight technology professor Teresa Sloan said.

"NIFA competitions sharpen students' skills in such areas as

landing accuracy, navigation, instrument proficiency and aircraft

recognition," Sloan added. "They also provide

students with opportunities to network with other flight technology

students during competitions, which are typified by a spirit of camaraderie

and cooperation."

Central's team _ dubbed the "Hellcats" _ competed Feb. 18-20

at the NIFA Region II competition in Alnut, Calif. It will also participate

in NIFA's Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference in May in

Greenville, Miss.

However, the competitions cost money. To raise necessary

funding, Hellcat members have done yard work, held car washes and garage

sales and swept the airport aprons at Ellensburg's Bowers Field.

Donations are being accepted, Sloan said.

For more information about the Hellcats or the CWU flight

technology program, call (509) 963-3691 or TDD (509) 963-3323.

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