More than 700 students and parents have attended ongoing Chamber-led Financial Aid Saturday events to help fund college
The financial aid season has begun and the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce worked with local school districts and colleges to help more than 700 high school seniors apply early for financial aid to help them afford college in the 2018-2019 school year.
The Austin Chamber works with volunteers from Austin Community College, Concordia University, Cybertex, St. Edward’s University, Southwestern University, Texas A&M University, the University of Texas at Austin, college access groups, and businesses to help families navigate the FAFSA process by ensuring students file in advance of college financial aid deadlines.
These early applications—both federal and state—increase the odds that high school students will be able afford their higher education goals in the coming year by connecting them with limited grants, scholarships, and other funding available to support college enrollment.
Prior research from Ray Marshall Center of the University of Texas found that nearly 80 percent of students who complete their FAFSA successfully enroll in college. Just this past year, national researchers evaluating the Austin Chamber’s early FAFSA completion efforts found that students who filed their FAFSA early received up $2,000 more to help fund college.
Ann Richards, Hutto, and Round Rock high schools have the special distinction of helping over 300 students and parents during their FAFSA events respectively. To encourage a larger turnout, each campus utilized innovative techniques to encourage attendance and early FAFSA completion at their events. For example, Ann Richards provided family dinners at their FAFSA event. Hutto provided test exemptions to qualifying students. Round Rock held a district-wide extended hour event serving families across five high schools who registered for appointments to file FAFSA applications throughout the day.
The Chamber’s Financial Aid Saturdays are made possible by Chamber partners and sponsors through the Chamber’s Opportunity Austin and DTC70 initiative. The Chamber has invested nearly $15 million–about a third of its overall budget–on increasing education and talent efforts to help improve educational and economic opportunities for students over the last decade.
Greater Austin Chamber
The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce focuses on how the Austin Region works. We serve as the voice of business for 2,800 organizations representing a combined workforce of about 330,000 employees throughout Central Texas. Our mission is to provide leadership that facilitates the creation of a prosperous regional economy and effective advocacy for members.