Did You Know improving FAFSA completion rates could bring Alaska students millions more in Federal Aid?
January 23, 2024
Alaskans could receive up to $6.8M in Pell Grants if more students completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. As many as 65% of the Class of 2022 skipped filing a FAFSA, leaving vital financial aid untapped.
What is FAFSA:
The FAFSA is an invaluable source of help for thousands of students seeking to enter college. It is the form you need to fill out to get any financial aid from the federal government to help pay for college. Each year, over 13 million students who file the FAFSA get more than $120 billion in grants, work-study, and low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Education.
By the Numbers:
Alaska holds the lowest nationwide FAFSA completion rate, with a mere 28.23% of high school seniors navigating the process successfully as of January 19, 2024.
Why It Matters:
Research links FAFSA completion to positive academic outcomes, revealing that an extra $1,000 in grant aid per student boosts postsecondary persistence rates by 4%. Most scholarships and grants require that a student complete a FAFSA to be eligible.
The Big Change:
The 2024-25 FAFSA brings big changes, with significant updates, including a shift from Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to the Student Aid Index (SAI). SAI considers the student's financial situation more comprehensively.
Financial aid packages, including Pell Grants, Alaska Education Grants, and Alaska Performance Scholarship, all hinge on the FAFSA. The priority deadline for critical scholarships is June 30. Many UA Foundation scholarships have a deadline of February 15.
To address the challenges faced by Alaskan students, the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE) and the University of Alaska, organized the 2023 Alaska FAFSA Summit in October 2023. The summit aimed to unite education and workforce development stakeholders to strategize statewide initiatives and policies to boost FAFSA completion rates.
The 2024-25 FAFSA introduces communication improvements, with students receiving their SAI and submission summary via email after processing, offering clarity on potential eligibility.
Mark Your Calendar:
The priority deadline to file the FAFSA for the Alaska Performance Scholarship (APS) and the Alaska Education Grant (AEG) is now June 30.