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U.S. Department of Education Launches Next Phase of FAFSA Support Strategy to Boost Completion Rate Among High School Students

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The U.S. Department of Education (Department) today announced additional steps to support students and their families with the Better FAFSA. The Department is launching a multi-million-dollar program as part of the FAFSA Student Support Strategy to help school districts, state, nonprofits, and other public and private organizations with efforts to boost FAFSA completion. Since the new 2024–25 FAFSA form became available on Dec. 30, more than 8.95 million forms have been successfully submitted.

The FAFSA Student Support Strategy funds will help grow the capacity for organizations to expand the availability of advisers, counselors, and coaches to support students and contributors through the FAFSA applications, including during extended hours through evenings, weekends, and the summer weeks. It will also facilitate FAFSA submission clinics, including through partnerships with schools and districts, and provide transportation support as needed. Additionally, these funds will provide communication support to help organizations communicate with parents and students via text, phone calls, and videoconferences, in multiple languages as needed, to help them complete their forms.

The FAFSA Student Support Strategy aims to continue increasing the number of high school students who complete a 2024-25 FAFSA and enroll in college, particularly first-time college students and students of color. This investment builds on the Department’s efforts to help students, families, and institutions through the 2024-25 FAFSA application cycle, in addition to the College Support Strategy, the FAFSA Fast Break campaign, and direct communication efforts with institutions and stakeholders via the FAFSA Fast News blog.

Over the past few months, the Department has sent approximately 70 million emails to students encouraging them to complete the Better FAFSA form, as well as engaged with hundreds of superintendents and principals to help drive submission efforts, garnering over 200 commitments from companies, non-profits, and community organizations to help boost FAFSA submissions. Last week, the Department kicked off a series of regional and local media engagements in media markets across the country to drive awareness and increase completion rates, targeting states with the largest high school senior FAFSA submission gaps.

“We are determined to close the FAFSA completion gap,” said U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten. “The funding we’re announcing today will support states, districts, and community-based groups to build capacity and leverage their power to ensure that every student who needs help paying for college turns in their FAFSA form.”

The program will provide up to $50 million for grantees and will be implemented by ECMC to support organizations with demonstrated experience in expanding college access and enrollment. The funding will be prioritized for organizations currently working with schools and districts, and those that have deep ties with students and families that have the reach and capacity to help decrease barriers and increase FAFSA submissions.

The Department continues to create and share resources for schools, students, families, and institutions of higher education to ensure they have the tools and information they need to receive and award financial aid. More information can be found at Ed.gov/better-FAFSA.

This announcement comes as the Department has made significant progress in addressing known issues with the 2024-25 FAFSA form and transmitted the Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) from more than 8.95 million applications to schools, states, and designated scholarship organizations. Most four-year institutions are now sending student aid offers, including the vast majority of schools with upcoming admissions deadlines.

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