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What is FAFSA and why is it important?

Each year the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) allows students across the country to access their share of over $150 billion in federal grants, loans, and work-study funds. The FAFSA allows many colleges and universities to determine the amount of additional need-based aid that students should receive. It should come as no surprise that several national studies have shown a strong linkage between FAFSA completion and college enrollment.  As OSSE is committed to increasing the rate of postsecondary participation by District high school graduates, it has created the FAFSA Completion Initiative. The Initiative will bring together a wide array of organizations to increase the District of Columbia’s rate of FAFSA completion. The FAFSA application is currently open at https://fafsa.ed.gov/. All seniors who will graduate from high school in 2015 should complete the FAFSA as soon as possible.

What is OSSE doing to increase the FAFSA completion rate in the District of Columbia?

OSSE and key partners will create a District-wide campaign to increase the awareness of FAFSA’s importance, encourage FAFSA completion, and give students and their families the opportunity to receive FAFSA submission assistance at four sites throughout the city in February.  Key partners include Local Education Agencies (LEAs), high schools, college access programs, nonprofit organizations and the Office of Federal Student Aid.

Moreover, OSSE is excited to provide LEAs, secondary schools, and college access programs with access to student-level FAFSA completion data through a groundbreaking online portal which has been launched in collaboration with Colorado’s Departments of Education and Higher Education. This online platform, known as the “Colorado Model,” has been wildly successful in raising the rate of FAFSA completion in Colorado, which prompted the Kresge Foundation to fund its expansion to 24 partner states throughout the country in 2015. 

How can I get more information about the FAFSA or help completing my FAFSA?

Students and families can find information about FAFSA, how to complete the application and required documents at www.studentaid.gov.