Each year, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to gain access to federal grants, scholarships, loans and more. States, colleges and career schools also use the information provided on the application to award state financial aid to students paying for higher education. Regardless of income level, all students who are planning to attend college or pursue other educational opportunities after high school must submit their FAFSA by the April 15 deadline.
Students can file the FAFSA online at FAFSA.gov. At this site, students create a Federal Student Aid ID, which is needed to file the form, and access a checklist about the documents required to complete the FAFSA. To help families and students complete the FAFSA before the April 15 deadline, INvestEd is offering free guidance during two upcoming virtual events. From noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 27, and from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13, students and their families can connect with an INvestED expert, who can answer questions about the FAFSA and financial aid.
Families can participate in these events online through Learn More Indiana's social media accounts – Facebook (Facebook.com/LearnMoreIN), Instagram (@LearnMoreIndiana) and Twitter (@LearnMoreIN). Help is also available over the phone by calling or texting 317-447-4870 in Hendricks County or 317-617-0318 in Marion County. Additional information can be found at LearnMoreIndiana.org.
INvestEd can also be reached Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., by calling 317-715-9007 to help with the FAFSA and answer questions related to paying for college. Visit INvestEdIndiana.org to learn more.
Unfortunately, students who would like to pursue opportunities beyond high school, such as earning a certification and credentials or college, are missing out on their share of billions of dollars in financial aid simply because they are not submitting the FAFSA. Whether it is federal grants that do not need to be repaid, student loans with low interest rates, work-study programs to earn money while building a resume, or state-specific loans or grants, many people who could benefit are not filling out or completing this necessary form. With the FAFSA required to qualify for nearly all financial aid, I am sponsoring legislation that would incentivize high schools to help more of their students with filling out and submitting the completed form by the yearly deadline. Offering schools additional funding when students complete the form could help Hoosier families save thousands of dollars, remove financial barriers to higher education and encourage soon-to-be graduates to make a plan for after high school.
The legislation is currently being considered by the Indiana House of Representatives, and more information can be found at iga.in.gov.
With just under a month left to submit the FAFSA before the deadline hits, students and their families need to gather the necessary documents and start filling out the form today. Then, if help is needed, there is time to either attend one of the virtual workshops or reach out to INvestEd. Hoosiers, don't pass up your chance to qualify for financial aid and save on higher learning costs. Be sure to submit your form at FAFSA.gov by April 15.
State Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) represents House District 91,
which includes portions of Hendricks and Marion counties.
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