FAFSA Frenzy Begins! Get Resources to Help

January 27, 2015

MorraLee Keller, Director of Technical Assistance

The 2015 FAFSA season has arrived. NCAN and our members understand that there is no more significant process that we can assist our students/families with than when it comes to completing a FAFSA in an accurate and timely manner. Below, NCAN recommends some tools, resources and updated information that can make your FAFSA season the best ever.

How To Help -   There are two federal websites with lots of resources about the FAFSA and the filing process for you and/or the families you serve.

• http://www.financialaidtoolkit.ed.gov/tk/
• http://studentaid.ed.gov/resources

These websites have videos, forms, infographics, documents and power points that can assist you in learning the process or providing handouts to the clientele you will assist with completing the FAFSA. First Lady Michelle Obama, has issued a FAFSA Completion Challenge for High Schools. The schools will have The First Lady as their commencement speaker this spring.  As a part of the Reach Higher initiative, schools must submit a video by March 16, demonstrating the creative ways they have stepped up to the challenge of getting more students to complete the FAFSA.

How to Help/ELearning Style – NCAN has developed an online training unit for access advisors, school counselors or others vested in helping students complete the FAFSA.  The module is free for all NCAN members during 2015 to use as a learning/training tool.  There will be a fee for any non-member wishing to take the training unit.  Additional information about all the units available and the registration process is located on the NCAN website.

How To Help/Webinar Style – NCAN recently provided a webinar on the 2015-2016 FAFSA & Federal Program Updates.  That webinar is available free to NCAN members on NCAN's website.

How To Help/Guide Style – One of the most comprehensive documents to help guide FAFSA completion, “Filing the FAFSA” is once again available from Edvisors.  This book is a free download  and contains over 190 pages of information. Another good online guide comes from the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School, Understanding FAFSA. This guide is 32 pages with engaging graphic design. It can be read online or downloaded in English or Spanish and is suitable for sharing with students and parents.

FAFSA Tracking Help – The FAFSA Completion by High School tool  will be available again this year.  This allows you to track the number of FAFSA’s completed by state/high school.  This tool provides the number of forms completed and offers a comparison for the previous year.  President Obama issued an executive order earlier this year that allows the state agency receiving FAFSA data to provide unit record (student name data) to school districts and other approved entities.  You should check with your state K-12 agency to see if your state opted to participate in this service for the 2015-2016 FAFSA cycle.

Finally, we encourage you to build and strengthen your relationship with local college financial aid administrators who can be of great assistance with your questions or special circumstances that may come up.  NCAN may be of assistance when needed.  Please feel free to direct your FAFSA questions to MorraLee Keller, Director of Technical Assistance, at kellerm@collegeaccess.org.

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