States Tackle FAFSA Challenges

Midwestern states are responding to challenges with the rollout of the new FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to ensure students have access to the financial aid they need to pursue higher education. Recent state and system initiatives include:

  • Illinois - In response to delays in the processing of FAFSA applications, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) extended its College Changes Everything Campaign until late February 2024. The campaign included hosting 600 financial aid application workshops around the state.
  • Kansas - The Kansas Board of Regents has made FAFSA assistance training available to 105 county extension agents, to assist students in FAFSA completion.
  • Michigan - Governor Whitmer has been actively engaged in raising public awareness about the importance of completing the FAFSA. She has visited graduating seniors in schools to discuss the significance of FAFSA completion and made FAFSA awareness a consistent messaging priority via television news media segments, press releases, and social media such as X and TikTok.
  • Ohio - Chancellor Mike Duffey of the Ohio Department of Higher Education has urged all college and university presidents to extend admissions application deadlines and enhance communication efforts with prospective students who are waiting for their FAFSA forms to be processed by the US Department of Education.

In other parts of the nation, state leaders are also implementing innovative strategies to support students in accessing financial aid:

  • Arizona - The state has launched Finish Line to the FAFSA, with Governor Hobbs sending letters of support to all school districts and college access organizations. The AZ FAFSA Coalition has devised a comprehensive marketing plan, including TV ads, social media campaigns, events, and targeted digital messaging.
  • California - Governor Newsom extended the state's student financial aid deadline to May 2, providing students with additional time to complete their applications.
  • Kentucky - Kentucky has initiated the Kentucky Goes to College campaign as part of College Appreciation Month, further emphasizing the importance of higher education access.
  • New Jersey - Governor Murphy signed legislation requiring high school students to complete financial aid applications, ensuring that all students have access to financial assistance for their education. Twelve states have adopted some level of universal FAFSA legislation.
  • New York - Governor Hochhul proclaimed April as Financial Aid Awareness Month and announced a $1 million grant from the Petrei Foundation for the CUNY Financial Aid Support Team program, benefiting 100,000 students. This month overlaps with a wide variety of  FAFSA events.
  • Tennessee - By declaring April 1-5 as "Finish the FAFSA Week," Tennessee is encouraging students to complete their FAFSA applications and access financial aid resources.