Federal financial aid may be the only way countless students can afford a college education but that doesn’t mean the application isn’t overwhelming for many. After all, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, otherwise known as FAFSA, is multiple pages in length, requires a ton of supporting documents, and literally has more than 100 questions.
It’s no wonder why lots of people blow off the application. But the federal government doesn’t want college bound students to do that, which is why February is designated as Financial Aid Awareness Month. Big players like the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) and others in higher education are spreading the word about how important the FAFSA is.
With this year’s awareness efforts, the NASFAA is getting social by launching a social media campaign. It is aimed at building awareness about the positive impact financial aid can have on college students across the country. Additionally, it highlights changes that are coming to the federal financial aid system with the new administration in office and the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Some of the changes include a simplification of the application for student aid, increasing transparency, and providing more financial counseling for students.
On Valentine’s Day, NASFAA will host a Facebook Live Q&A where a NASFAA representative will talk about the importance of financial aid. On Feb. 24, it will have a Twitter chat with experts from other higher education organizations that focuses on the changes coming to financial aid and what can be done to improve the overall system. But that’s not all NASFAA is doing during February to get the word out. Throughout the month, it will be fielding questions on Twitter under the hashtag #FinAidFeb.
Building awareness for financial aid comes at a time when the majority of students need some form of aid to attend college given the rising rate of a four-year degree. According to the College Board, in the 2016/2017 school year, tuition at a four-year public school increased 2.4% to $9.650 while the average cost of at a private nonprofit four-year school increased 3.6% to $33,480 from $32,330 in the 2015/2016 school year. “It’s never a mistake to fill out the FAFSA. The application is free, and serves as the gateway to federal financial aid as well as some state and institutional aid,” NASFAA said in its release.
Image Copyright House Committee on Education and the Workforce Democrats.
Author: Dave Rathmanner
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