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US Department of Education Processes More Than 10 Million Better FAFSA Forms

May 24, 2024

Originally published at https://www.hometownstations.com/news/u-s-department-of-education-processes-more-than-10-million-better-fafsa-forms/article_e5d7be7c-19e8-11ef-956a-dbd6f2a4b1a8.html

 

May 24, 2024, Press Release from the U.S. Department of Education: The U.S. Department of Education (Department) today announced it has processed more than 10 million 2024–25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) forms. Since rolling out the Better FAFSA form, the Department has made significant progress to address known issues with the form. Students who complete a Better FAFSA online today can expect their records to be sent to colleges within one to three days. According to the latest data, nearly 90% of nonprofit and four-year institutions are packaging and sending out aid offers to students. A surge in FAFSA submissions in recent weeks has closed the gap from nearly 40 percent just two months ago to 12 percent today -- and this gap continues to fall. In order to encourage Better FAFSA submissions, the Department developed the FAFSA Support Strategy, now with two distinct arms, supporting institutions of higher education and students and families across K-12 and higher education. The Department will continue to work to make improvements to the FAFSA experience for students, families, and our other key partners.

"Thanks to the countless educators, schools, financial aid officers, and community partners across the country who have worked hard, along with the Department, to motivate students to fill out FAFSA, we have real momentum," said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. "We will continue to leave no stone unturned in pursuit of our goal of ensuring that every student has the help they need to access the life-changing potential of higher education."

FAFSA Student Support Strategy

To complement college supports, the FAFSA Student Support Strategy was created to increase the number of students completing their FAFSAs and enrolling in college, particularly first-time college students and students of color. Since the Student Support Strategy launched on May 6, over 65 organizations have received funds through the partnership with ECMC and are already putting this funding to work to increase FAFSA submissions.

Projects include providing stipends to school counselors hosting FAFSA completion events, launching mobile FAFSA clinics, providing one-on-one support during FAFSA office hours, providing translation services, ensuring support extends through the summer months, and other activities all organizations focused on ensuring that students and families are successful in submitting the FAFSA.

Today, ECMC announced the first tranche of organizations receiving funding through this program. In total over 65 organizations have received funding including the following examples provided by ECMC:

Iowa College Access Network - will provide evening and weekend availability for in-person or virtual FAFSA completion appointments at each of its 7 offices statewide. Additionally, they will work with school counselors to provide up to 75 completion events for high schools and communities as well as host 4 FAFSA Step-by-Step webinars (with 2 conducted fully in Spanish) for families. They will also recruit up to 50 school counselors to join the FAFSA completion initiative and work locally to boost completion in their schools.

College Access Fairfax, Falls Church, VA - will assist nearly 1,000 students in completing and submitting the FAFSA. They will hold in-person completion events and schedule individual appointments with other students who need the assistance. CAF intends to hire translators to assist in communicating with families.

Centro Hispano de East Tennessee, Knoxville, TN - will conduct FAFSA completion events, in Knoxville and surrounding region in schools with high populations of immigrant families. They will also support more staff time to continue these efforts through the summer months.

Oregon TRIO Association, Astoria, OR - will hold hands-on FAFSA Support Workshops in local communities during evenings and weekends, specifically designed to assist students and parents in completing FAFSA. Additionally, they will allocate additional funding for staff to support extended hours for TRIO professionals, enabling them to facilitate workshops beyond their regular positions.

FAFSA College Support Strategy

In February of this year, the Department made funds available to support institutions of higher education through the FAFSA College Support Strategy. Under this strategy, the Department is deploying federal personnel, allocating millions in technical assistance and support, and providing tools to help schools prepare to process student records as efficiently as possible. To date, our partners have supported over 270 institutions, including over 60 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). In addition, FSA staff have worked directly with colleges including more than 100 campus visits.

Through its college and student support strategies, the Department will continue to work to make sure students and families can access the maximum financial aid they are entitled to, and that schools have the resources and support they need.

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