High school seniors should complete FAFSA by Feb. 1

Updated: Oct. 20, 2020 at 3:48 PM CDT
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The following information was provided by the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance:

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - This month, high school seniors will begin checking off one of the to-do’s on their senior checklist - completing their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is the application for federal, state and institutional aid and is available on Oct. 1 each year. Today, the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) is launching its FAFSANow Pilot initiative, in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Education, and urging the Class of 2021 to complete their FAFSA early, by Feb. 1, 2021.

To date, 40 Louisiana schools have registered to participate in LOSFA’s FAFSA Now Pilot campaign to encourage their seniors to complete the FAFSA by Feb. 1.

“Completing the FAFSA early means students could potentially receive their college award letters sooner so they can know how much aid they will qualify for,” said Dr. Sujuan Boutte, executive director of LOSFA. “Once the application is complete, seniors can begin searching for scholarships and planning out how they will pay for the rest of their college education.”

When families consider the rising cost of college, not completing the FAFSA could mean students miss out on free money. Free money is another name for gift aid or financial aid that does not have to be paid back. Filling out the FAFSA can reduce a student’s out-of-pocket expenses for post-secondary studies.

Along with federal aid such as the Pell Grant, Work-Study and Federal Student Loans, the FAFSAis the application for state aid programs like the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS), TOPS Tech and the Louisiana GO Grant. Colleges and universities also receive money to award students. Federal aid like Work-Study and the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), and some institutional aid are first-come, first-serve. If a student waits too long to complete their FAFSA, with only so many funds available, they could possibly miss out on potential financial aid dollars.

“Every child deserves the opportunity to continue their education after high school, and financial burdens should not be a barrier,” said State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Cade Brumley. “This initiative will help open doors for our families that would have otherwise remained closed.”

The FAFSA Now Pilot will use text messaging and social media (@LOSFA: Twitter and Facebook; @LOSFA001: Instagram) to spread the word on the importance of completing the FAFSA. Students and parents can text the word ‘LOSFA’ to 50065 for help, use #GeauxFAFSA on social media and/or email GeauxFAFSA@la.gov.

LOSFA will continue to assist schools with FAFSA completion events and offer virtual FAFSAassistance by registering here.

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