Ever since the Free Application for Federal Student Aid opened in October, Promise Corps has been working to find ways of educating our students about the importance of completing this vital document. We had many successes in the first part of the year, as we worked together with parents, the guidance department and other partners throughout the school. Now that the end of the year is quickly approaching and seniors are starting to make their final college decisions, we have had to ramp up our efforts.
Rather than waiting for students to come to us with their parents’ necessary information, we have started hosting make-shift computer lab sessions in the Promise Corps room, where we pull students from their classes to work on their applications. During these workshops, we sit with the students and guide them through the process on a case-by-case basis. For the most part, the largest challenge of completing the FAFSA is getting the necessary financial information from the parents. To respond to this roadblock, we have increased our parental engagement by actually calling them to get the information directly from the source, while also encouraging parents and guardians to come to after school events.
We are trying to get as many applications filed as quickly as possible, since students have a better chance of getting more money the earlier that they fill it out. We have seen really positive results with these increased efforts. We have completed the FAFSA with dozens of students, and have at least started the process with dozens more. We look forward to continuing our efforts to help our students find ways to pay for college.