Branstad, Reynolds urge more Iowa high schools to help seniors file a FAFSA
Today, at the Administration’s weekly press conference at Southeast Polk High School, Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds encouraged more Iowa high schools to help seniors file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). “Completing the FAFSA is a critical step to enrolling in college or career training after graduation because it is the gateway to most financial aid,” Branstad said.
Lt. Gov. Reynolds pointed out that just 63 percent of high school seniors filed the application for 2015-16. “Joining the FAFSA Completion Initiative gives counselors great tools to make enrolling in college or career training a reality for more high school students,” said Reynolds. “We hope every high school in the state will sign on.”
Almost half of Iowans who file a FAFSA qualify for federal Pell Grants, and the average Pell award in Iowa for 2015-16 was $3,448. Filing a FAFSA also can help students receive state and college-based financial aid. Both Branstad and Reynolds emphasized the importance of FAFSA filing in reaching the state’s Future Ready Iowa goal: that 70 percent of Iowans will have some education or training beyond high school by 2025.
The governor and lieutenant governor praised Iowa College Aid’s FAFSA Completion Initiative, which helps high schools pinpoint students who might need help filing a FAFSA. Southeast Polk is one of more than 70 school districts participating in the initiative.
Karen Misjak, executive director of Iowa College Aid, unveiled a new webpage that shows FAFSA completion rates across the state, school by school. Misjak stressed the importance of filing early because some state financial aid programs operate on a first-come, first-served basis. “In short, the sooner you file, the better your chances of receiving financial aid for college,” she said.
School-by-school comparisons, a link to sign up for the FAFSA Completion Initiative and tips for filing a FAFSA can be found at FAFSA.Iowa.gov.