AUSTIN, Texas—Today, with two months remaining until the Jan. 15, 2019, Texas priority aid deadline, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President for Education and Talent Drew Scheberle released the following statement:
“In a change from previous years, the priority deadline for completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now Jan. 15, 2019. All high school seniors should submit their applications by this date in order to have the best chance at receiving financial aid to help pay for their post-secondary education.
"As this deadline has been pushed up significantly from past years, the Chamber has worked with local districts to get the word out to high school seniors and their parents through our Financial Aid Saturdays program. We want to ensure our system for financial aid is working for Central Texas’ region.
"Filing an application by Jan. 15 is vital for families in the region hoping to secure funding to help pay for college. Successfully submitting the FAFSA is a crucial step, not only for students’ academic futures, but also for their careers.”
The Chamber's efforts to ensure high school seniors submit a FAFSA is part of Opportunity Austin's Direct-to-College 70 (DTC 70) program—a multi-chamber, multi-school district commitment to enroll 70 percent of the Class of 2019 in post-secondary education. To date, the Chamber's partner districts (Austin, Hutto, Leander, Pflugerville, and Round Rock independent school districts) boast an overall 29 percent FAFSA completion rate for the Class of 2019 compared to the state's 21.6 percent.
Commissioner of Higher Education Raymund A. Paredes released the following statement regarding the deadline change:
“Texas has a very youthful population, which is likely to produce 75,000 more high school graduates in 2027 than it currently does. This is a huge economic advantage for Texas and will help us meet our 60x30TX goals, but only if we educate these young people who are mostly poor. Too few economically disadvantaged students in Texas make it through the education pipeline to a postsecondary credential. As the accelerated priority deadline for FAFSA approaches, it is critical that we help these young people with the financial aid process to get them successfully enrolled and graduated with a certificate or degree.”
Free assistance for families needing to complete forms is available at local events through Dec. 14. Students who need help filing a FAFSA can register to attend an event at www.collegeinsight.com.
The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Austin, Hutto, Leander, Pflugerville, and Round Rock independent school districts, hosts more than 50 financial aid events each year where trained, volunteer members of the community provide assistance to students and their families in filling out the FAFSA. The FAFSA allows students and their families to apply for federal financial aid to help pay for post-secondary education. Awards are need based, and preference is given to students who file before the priority deadline.