U.S. Department of Education Introduces New Phase of FAFSA Support Strategy to Increase High School Student Completion Rates

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) today unveiled new measures to assist students and their families with the improved FAFSA. In support of the FAFSA Student Support Strategy, the Department is initiating a multi-million-dollar initiative to aid school districts, states, nonprofits, and other public and private organizations in enhancing FAFSA completion. Over 8.95 million forms have been successfully submitted since the release of the 2024–25 FAFSA form on Dec. 30.

The funds allocated under the FAFSA Student Support Strategy will enhance the capacity of organizations to increase the presence of advisors, counselors, and mentors to assist students and contributors throughout the FAFSA application process. This includes extended hours of availability during evenings, weekends, and summers. The initiative will also support FAFSA submission clinics, in collaboration with schools and districts, and provide transportation assistance when needed. Moreover, the funding will enable communication channels through text, phone calls, and video conferences in various languages to aid in form completion.

The primary goal of the FAFSA Student Support Strategy is to boost the number of high school students completing the 2024-25 FAFSA and enrolling in college, particularly targeting first-time college students and students of color. This initiative complements the Department’s ongoing efforts to guide students, families, and institutions through the 2024-25 FAFSA application cycle, in alignment with the College Support Strategy, FAFSA Fast Break campaign, and direct communication strategies via the FAFSA Fast News blog.

In recent months, the Department has dispatched approximately 70 million emails to students encouraging them to complete the enhanced FAFSA form. They have also collaborated with numerous superintendents and principals to drive submission efforts, securing over 200 commitments from companies, non-profits, and community organizations to boost FAFSA submissions. Furthermore, the Department has initiated regional and local media engagements across the country to raise awareness and enhance completion rates.

“We are committed to narrowing the FAFSA completion gap,” stated U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten. “The funding we are announcing today will empower states, districts, and community-based entities to build capacity and utilize their influence to ensure every student in need of college financial aid submits their FAFSA form.”

The program will provide up to $50 million in grants and will be managed by ECMC to support organizations with proven track records in expanding college access and enrollment. Priority will be given to organizations currently engaged with schools and districts, as well as those deeply connected to students and families to enhance FAFSA submissions.

The Department is consistently developing and sharing resources for schools, students, families, and higher education institutions to equip them with necessary tools and information for receiving and granting financial aid. For more details, visit Ed.gov/better-FAFSA.

This announcement coincides with the Department’s progress in addressing issues with the 2024-25 FAFSA form and distributing Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) from over 8.95 million applications to schools, states, and designated scholarship organizations. Most four-year institutions are currently issuing student aid offers, including the majority of schools with upcoming admissions deadlines.

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