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News@MCC for Tuesday, December 06, 2011

What you need to know about the FAFSA

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms can be submitted starting on Jan. 1. Use MCC's school code, 004432, to have your information automatically sent to the school. The FAFSA is a single comprehensive form used for state, federal and institutional grants. While not exactly a picnic, it is also not that daunting a task. Remember, even if filed last year, the FAFSA form has to be renewed each year a student plans to seek financial assistance.

The sooner you file the FAFSA, the better. Some of the monies are awarded on a first come, first serve basis. MCC's priority deadline for campus based grants and federal work study is April 1. MCC's school code is 004432.

A few tips:

  • File online. Go to www.fafsa.gov (don't get it confused with www.fafsa.com).
  • Get a PIN (Person Identification Number). You can apply for a pin while completing your FAFSA or get it ahead of time at www.pin.ed.gov. The PIN will enable you to "sign" your form electronically.
  • Gather the necessary paperwork. Here's what you'll need:
    • Prior year's income information for the student, student's spouse or student's parent (if a dependent)
    • Prior year records of earned income (non-tax filers)
    • Prior year Social Security documentation
    • Prior year Aid to Dependent Children (ADC), Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) documentation
    • Prior year child support documents (either paid or received)
    • Any other prior year untaxed income documentation (e.g., military housing allowance)
    • Current bank statement showing savings
    • Record of stocks, bonds, real estate or other investment values that are not part of a qualified retirement plan
    • School code. Metropolitan Community College's school code is 004432.
  • Don't wait until you complete your 2011 taxes. You can complete the FASFA with estimated numbers, but it is recommended, if you are able, to complete them early in the year. If you estimate, you will have to go back and update your information when it is complete. Remember: MCC's priority deadline is April 1.
  • List all household members. Be sure to include any dependent children if you provide half the support and claim them on your taxes even if they do not live with you. Count any babies about to make an appearance prior to the end of the year.
  • Don't inflate your wealth. Make sure you list your assets as of the date you're completing the FAFSA, not the end of the calendar year. Pay off any big expenses first, and if you're anticipating any windfalls, file the form before receiving them.
  • Double check. Common FAFSA mistakes include using nicknames instead of legal names; leaving fields blank (use a 0 if the question doesn't apply to you); not including yourself in the household size; not having parents and children sign before filing.

Once you file the FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report with your official Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The Financial Aid office determines need by simply subtracting your Expected Family Contribution from MCC's cost of attendance. MCC's Financial Aid and Veteran Financial Services office offers a financial aid package generally consisting of a combination of grant(s) (gift aid) and work-study employment (self-help aid) to eligible students with demonstrated need. Aid is awarded as part of the means for you to begin or continue your studies.

If you are unable to complete the electronic FAFSA, contact MCC's Financial Aid office at 402-457-2330 for assistance.

Is class cancelled?

When bad weather hits, check the website (www.mccneb.edu), the weather line (402-457-2499), your college email inbox or local radio and television stations to find out if the entire college or individual campuses/centers are closed.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day: A Day On Not a Day Off

Give your day off back to the community! Volunteer to participate in MCC's Martin Luther King Jr. day of service on Jan. 16. MCC students, faculty, staff and their families are invited to give 2-4 hours at community organizations throughout greater Omaha. To sign up, contact Queen Tucker (402-457-2813 or ertucker@mccneb.edu) or Jennie Tullos (402-457-2637 or jtullos2@mccneb.edu) by Jan. 2. The first 100 volunteers will receive a FREE t-shirt!

More than 30 organizations need help with a variety of projects from painting walls, to working with the elderly, to serving food or playing games and reading with children. Some of the agencies that have agreed to accept volunteers are: HELP Adult Services, Habitat for Humanity Omaha, Open Door Mission, Siena/Francis House, OneWorld Community Health Center and MCC's Books by the Busload book sorting.

Students needing to meet Service-Learning requirements for Human Relations and other courses may participate in this event to receive credit for their time of service. The Pass to Class bus pass can be used for transportation to the various sites. There will be sites available in Omaha, Sarpy County, Blair, Elkhorn Valley and Fremont.

To donate a portion of your time on Monday, Jan. 16, or if you have any questions contact Queen Tucker (402)457-2813 ertucker@mccneb.edu or Jennie Tullos (402)457-2637 jtullos2@mccneb.edu in the Service-Learning office FOC Building 14 South.

A Day On Not a Day Off is organized by MCC's Service-Learning office and is part of a national day of service. The Martin Luther King Jr. Day website, www.mlkday.gov, encourages people to volunteer in the community to live King's teachings of "nonviolence and service to one another, problems such as hunger and homelessness, prejudice and discrimination can be overcome" and lists ways to volunteer in your community.

Holiday gifts ideas from ICA

Season with Sage Cookbook

Chocolate and Carmel Mouse Stacks

Butternut Squash and Bacon Canapés

Sound delicious? Purchase the Season with Sage cookbook for only $24.95 + tax, and you can enjoy these dishes or better yet, give the cookbook as a gift! Purchases can be made online or at the Sage Student Bistro, Category One Gifts & Gourmet, The Bookworm, Lo Sole Mio Italian Restaurant, Blue Sushi Sake Grill Old Market and Slattery Vintage Estates

The cookbook was created by the students and faculty at MCC's Institute for the Culinary Arts in honor of their friend and fellow student, the late Brandon Thomas. All proceeds are donated to the Brandon Michael Thomas Culinary Arts Memorial Scholarship at MCC. In his memory, his family created this scholarship and underwrote the printing for the cookbook.

Sage Student Bistro Gift Cards

Give the gift of food. Purchase a gift card to the Sage Student Bistro, located at MCC's Institute for the Culinary Arts, Fort Omaha Campus, anytime from Dec. 12-22, Monday-Thursday, 
8-10 a.m., 11 a.m.-1 p.m. or 6-8:30 p.m. Gift cards (available in increments of $5) can be used for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

You are also welcome to join us at any of the dates and times listed above for a delicious meal. Chef Oystein Solberg and the Fine Dining class would love to cook you dinner to celebrate the holidays. Reservations are appreciated and can be made at www.mccneb.edu/bistro

And don't forget you can always host your breakfast meetings at the Bistro. We would love to have small groups of 8-25 enjoy our student's egg cookery. Contact Chef Steve Bell at 402-457-2578 to make group breakfast reservations.

Everyday Extraordinaire Noncredit Classes

Give the gift of learning. Register yourself and a friend/family member for the classes below-a great evening out and a perfect holiday gift. Learn from our award-winning faculty and industry professionals as they lead you through hands-on, fundamentally sound culinary lessons inside the state-of-the-art Metropolitan Utilities District demonstration theatre at the Institute for the Culinary Arts. These classes are a perfect way to learn and practice new skills, plus enjoy tasting your finished product.

Register for the classes at www.mccneb.edu/ce/ or by calling 402-457-5231.

Holiday Hors D'oeuvres

COOK-102N-70 (synonym 179685) 

Make your holiday gatherings a culinary delight this year. Learn to prepare and sample unique appetizers. The instructor is MCC Chef Brian O'Malley. The class will be held Wednesday, Dec. 7 from 6-9 p.m. The cost is $50.

Classic Hearty Soups

COOK-103N-70 (synonym 179688)

Learn to prepare classic hearty soups for those cold winter days when a warm bowl of soup hits the spot. The instructor is MCC Chef Brian O'Malley. The class will be held Wednesday, Jan. 25, from 6-9 p.m. The cost is $50.

Poinsettia sale Dec. 12-14

PoinsettiaMCC's Horticulture Club is selling poinsettias (4-5 blooms) for $7 each. Cash or check only. Price includes tax. Stop by the Horticulture greenhouse (Fort Omaha Campus, Building 27A) anytime between noon and 4 p.m. on Dec. 12-14 to pick up your beautiful plant. If you would like more than one plant, call 402-457-2631 to make pick-up arrangements.

Film & Lecture Series: Speaking in Tongues

You are invited to watch Speaking in Tongues on Wednesday, Dec. 14 from 4:15-5:30 p.m. at Elkhorn Valley Campus, Room 114. This event is free and open to the public. No reservations are required. Speaking in Tongues lends the case for multilingual education. At a time when 31 states have passed English-only laws, four pioneering families put their children in public schools where, from the first day of kindergarten, their teachers speak mostly in a foreign language.

Jason is a first-generation Mexican-American whose immigrant family embraces bilingualism as the key to full participation in the land of opportunity. Durrell is an African-American kindergartner whose mom hopes that Mandarin will be his ticket to a brighter economic future. Kelly is a Chinese-American recapturing the Cantonese her parents sacrificed to become American. Julian is a Caucasian eighth-grader eager to expand his horizons and become a good world citizen. Together, they represent a nexus of challenges facing America today: economic and academic inequities, de facto segregation, record numbers of new immigrants and the need to communicate across cultures.

Susan Mayberger, coordinator of ESL, Migrant and Refugee Education Programs, Omaha Public Schools, will lead a discussion about the film following the viewing.

Connect with MCC

Be in the know. Become a fan of the MCC's Facebook page. Follow our tweets at http://twitter.com/mccneb. And, don't forget about MCC's YouTube channel.

Bring a toy to class

You can drop off a new, unwrapped toy for the Toys for Tots program through Monday, Dec. 19 in the boxes at any of the following locations:

  • Applied Technology Center
  • Elkhorn Valley Campus
  • Fort Omaha Campus, Bldg. 8 or Bldg. 10
  • Sarpy Center
  • South Omaha Campus, Connector Building

Visit www.omaha-ne.toysfortots.org for more information.

Weekly green tip

If you're planning to buy holiday decorations this year, consider a décor of seasonal plants (poinsettia, holly, pinecones), decorations that can be reused or donated, or vintage items from an antiques shop. Two-thirds of households buy new Christmas decorations each year and spend $7.5 billion. If these households diverted just $6 of their decorating budget to reusable items, the money saved could pay to heat 5.9 million New England homes for every hour between Christmas and New Year's Day.-The Green Book

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