The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority and the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence are urging all high school seniors, college students and returning adults to apply for federal aid this year amid a decline in applications due to COVID-19.
The number of Kentucky students filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid — known as the FAFSA form — is down 3.7%, raising concerns that some students and parents are not preparing financially for the Fall 2020 semester.
CPE President Aaron Thompson stressed that filling out the FAFSA form can alleviate some of the unease in college planning and college going.
“This process is not only free, but it can provide certainty in uncertain times,” he said. “I encourage every family to take advantage of this opportunity to plan ahead and secure resources for the future. Don’t let COVID-19 stop you from achieving your goals.”
The National College Attainment Network reports that 90% of high school seniors who complete a FAFSA form attend college directly from high school, compared to just 55% of FASFA non-completers.
“Last year, Kentucky students received more than $373 million in federal Pell grants, and KHEAA distributed more than $258 million in grants and scholarships,” said Gene Hutchins, executive director of KHEAA.
Students can apply for aid by visiting studentaid.gov, which offers instructions for submitting a form electronically or by mail along with other details about the process.
Submitting a form online starts with creating an FSA ID at studentaid.gov/fsa-id, and parents will also need to create an ID if the student is dependent.
Each year, the U.S. Department of Education distributes more than $120 billion in federal grants, loans and work-study funds to help students pay for college or vocational training. About 20 million FAFSA forms are submitted each year.