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Effort Underway to Get More Students to Apply for Financial Aid

Efforts last year by the Indiana Higher Education Commission increased the number of students applying for financial aid by five percent (Veronica Carter)
Efforts last year by the Indiana Higher Education Commission increased the number of students applying for financial aid by five percent (Veronica Carter)
February 10, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS - Thousands of students miss out on the chance to go to college every year because they don't file for financial aid in time, so this year there's a big push to get them to meet the March 10 deadline for FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Kaylee Showers, spokeswoman with the Commission for Higher Education, says Indiana has one of the most generous need-based financial aid systems in the country, but you have to fill out the application in order to get any money.

"You should file it no matter when you're planning on going," says Showers. "If you're a senior and you're thinking you're going in the summer you should definitely file your FAFSA. You have to have it on file basically to receive any aid, so the sooner the better."

The state is partnering with 115 school districts to try to increase the number of students filing for financial aid. Last year a similar effort brought the numbers up by five percent.

Showers says there's a lot of confusion about who qualifies for financial aid.

"Folks might think their parents make too much money, or you know that they make too much money, but you never really know until you file it," she says.

Workshops to help people fill out the FAFSA forms will held at 42 locations around the state on what's called College Goal Sunday on Feb. 21.

Schools are also being encouraged to hold on campus help workshops this month with financial aid experts who can provide step-by-step assistance on filing the FAFSA, opening savings plans and explaining other ways to ensure financial readiness for college.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IN