VALLEY WEEKEND : Sessions Give Advice on College Loan Programs : High school seniors and parents will get help filling out financial aid applications.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

For many high school seniors interested in furthering their education, this weekend marks the beginning of "Financial Aid Week."

This is an application for federal funds, which should not be confused with the scholarship applications that certain schools required by the end of last year. It isn't until mid-January that the forms for federal student aid even become available, and applicants have until the end of next month to file. (The federal shutdown did not affect this program.)

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, as it's called in school circles, is a form students and their families should obtain and fill out if they even faintly suspect they might not have enough cash to finance a college, university or junior college career. These days, that's just about everybody.

According to Anafe Palacios, acting financial aid manager at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, "You should go on record by submitting the FAFSA if you only suspect you qualify for aid." And that includes those people who are worried that they "might want to file later, in the fall or sometime in the future, for a loan," she added.

Since the student aid process, "is sort of confusing for some people," Palacios said, she and her staff are conducting a free evening seminar on the topic next week for San Fernando Valley students and parents.

Palacios is a member of a professional organization, the California Assn. of Student Financial Aid Administrators, which is presenting "Financial Aid Week 1996" workshops throughout Southern California from Jan. 15-21. The Valley site will be Pierce College. In Thousand Oaks, the workshop will offered at Cal Lutheran University.

The first part of Palacios' workshop will cover a wide range of government grant and loan programs available to students--federal, state and local. She'll go over the application process, financial aid tips and pass out a comprehensive guide to government programs along with the actual FAFSA application form.

In the second hour of the workshop, participants can fill out the FAFSA application with her assistance. "The point is that they walk out of here with a form completed that's required for both federal and state aid," she said.

DETAILS

* WHAT: Student Financial Aid Week 1996 family workshop on the application process for federal, state and other student financial aid presented by Valley representatives of the California Assn. of Financial Aid Administrators.

* WHERE:

San Fernando Valley

Jan. 18. 7-9 p.m., Behavioral Science Building, No. 1308, Pierce College, 6201 Winnetka Ave. (Free parking off Mason entrance.)

Ventura County

Jan. 21, 1:30-3:30 p.m. Cal Lutheran College, 60 W. Olsen Road, Thousand Oaks.

* CALL: For information on the above workshops, call Anafe Palacios (818) 719-6428, or Deborah Elwell at Cal Lutheran, (805) 493-3115. For information on additional Financial Aid Week 1996 program events Jan. 15-21 at other locations in the Los Angeles area, call Ciel Senechal, High School Relations Chair, California Assn. of Financial Aid Administrators, (213) 736-1135.

* FYI: "Paying Less for College 1996" (including financial software) Peterson Publishing, $26.95 at bookstores or (800) 338-3282.

"The New College Financial Aid System: Making It Work for You," by David Jaffe, Council Oaks Books, $14.95, bookstores or (800) 247-8850.

"Dinero para la Universidad: Una Guia para Padrea", by Cynthia Ruiz McKee, Hearst Books, $9.

"Financial Aid for Students! School Year 1996-97" is a free brochure published by the California Student Aid Commission (916) 445-0880, and is also a source for applications for student loans and work-study programs. Call Federal Student Aid information, (800) 433-3243

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