The Austin Chamber of Commerce encourages high school seniors to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA opens tomorrow, Oct. 1 and can be accessed at FAFSA.gov.
Filing a FAFSA early this fall will ensure high school seniors have the best chance at receiving financial aid to help pay for their post-secondary education. However, all high school seniors should submit their applications by the Texas priority aid deadline, Jan. 15, to maximize chances of receiving need or merit based scholarships and grants tied to the FAFSA.
The Chamber's efforts to ensure high school seniors submit a FAFSA are 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 2020 in post-secondary education. The Chamber's partner districts (Austin, Hutto, Leander, Pflugerville, and Round Rock independent school districts) boasted an overall 53 percent FAFSA completion rate for the Class of 2019 compared to the state's 39% percent by the January state deadline. FAFSA filings for DTC70 partners currently stand at nearly 70 percent for the Class of 2019.
“Filling out the FAFSA is a crucial first step in making college more affordable and its why we help Austin region high school students and their families by hosting free events to help them complete the form," said Senior Vice President of Education/Talent Drew Scheberle. "From Oct. 1 through Dec. 7, the Chamber and its school district partners are hosting more than 40 events where families can ask questions, get assistance, and complete the FAFSA. Through our partnership, Austin families completed the FAFSA at rates much higher than the rest of Texas, helping families of the high school Class of 2019, in these five districts, receive approximately $93M in college financial aid.”
In addition to hosting events to help students complete financial aid paperwork, the Chamber, through partnerships with C3 Presents, Austin City Limits Music Festival and Circuit of the Americas (COTA), is hosting contests on social media to encourage students to sign up for financial aid events. Students at participating districts will have the chance to win tickets to the ACL Fest and the United States Formula 1 Grand Prix at COTA. Details can be found online at https://cdn1.austinchamber.com/marketing/documents/2019-2020-ACL-Official-Rules-FINAL-FINAL-002-002.pdf.
Free assistance for families needing to complete forms is available at local events through Dec. 7. Students who need help filing a FAFSA can register to attend an event at https://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 40 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.