You won’t go to college if you don’t apply. And you probably won’t apply if you can’t pay for it. That’s why helping high school students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is proving to be a game changer. The Bold Goals FAFSA Action Network in partnership with Alabama Possible’s statewide Cash for College campaign is dramatically increasing high school students’ access to postsecondary education in Central Alabama. In fact, nearly 17,000 FAFSAs have already been completed this academic year!
Completing the FAFSA is a key indicator of postsecondary access and success. The FAFSA helps determine whether a student qualifies for state and federal grants, including Pell Grants of up to $6,345 annually. This money can influence college options for students – especially low-income, minority and first-generation college-going students. Still, however, many may find the online application’s 100+ questions difficult to complete without a computer and assistance.
This initiative goes a long way toward solving that problem. The more than 340 schools participating in Cash for College have access to technical assistance, professional development, FAFSA event toolkits and other resources that help educators assist students and families in completing financial aid forms for college. Schools are encouraged to provide all students the opportunity to complete the FAFSA during the school day so as to ensure they have access to computers and any help they need.
Although FASFAs aren’t technically due until June, students are encouraged to complete the application by March 1st in order to have access to the most available funds.
“Students who file their FAFSA after the March 1st priority deadline get half as much financial aid as those who file before the deadline,” said Kristina Scott, Executive Director of Alabama Possible.
Cash for College is just one of many investments Alabama is making in our future and is a partnership of Alabama Possible, the Alabama State Department of Education, the Bold Goals Coalition of Central Alabama and the Alabama Media Group. Additional collaborators include the Alabama Commission on Higher Education and the Alabama Community College System.
For more information about FAFSA completion in Alabama, visit CashforCollegeAlabama.org or call the Alabama Possible office at 205.939.1408.
The Bold Goals Coalition is 200 organizations solving big community problems by aligning partners, resources and agendas.