In this post, I share how I have tackle FAFSA season in 3 easy steps.
Financial aid is a huge part of applying for college, and many students see the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as a way to pay for college. Therefore, teaching students about FAFSA is important!
But here’s the catch…
Understanding the FAFSA can be overwhelming for students, confusing for families, and exhausting for counselors.
Do you dread all the hurdles that come with financial aid applications? I know I do.
Alright, let’s share how I have tackle FAFSA season in 3 easy steps.
The struggle is real during FAFSA season.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Thus, I was inspired to write about the FAFSA because an article from Edsource (one of my favorite resources) recently posted about its challenges.
One sentence really stood out to me. Let me know if you have encountered this statement before…
“The FAFSA is complicated.”
This statement couldn’t be truer! Am I right? The FAFSA is complicated for a few reasons:
- The process is lengthy and time-consuming.
- The application requires some knowledge of finances.
- It can be incredibly personal, which is intimidating.
However, there are ways we can fix this!
Here are 3 ways to help students and families complete the FAFSA while saving you time.
1. Create simple and clear FAFSA bulletin boards.
Don’t have time or the desire to get crafty?
No worries! I created a financial aid bulletin board set with all of the frequently asked questions and essential information about the FAFSA.
This bundle comes with posters, inspirational quotes, and helpful tips for parents and students. Simply print and hang.
This is a perfect start if you have a lot on your plate and are looking to spread information fast.
This eliminates the time-waster of repeating answers to basic FAFSA questions; easing students into the process!
2. Start small discussion groups about paying for college and the FAFSA.
Small discussion groups encourage conversation about the taboo topic of money.
Talking with students about ways to pay for college is perfect to get students thinking about the FAFSA.
As a result, students build confidence in asking questions about the FAFSA, resulting in the determination to completing the FAFSA.
And ultimately, confidence in applying to college.
Therefore, the decision of attending college.
Every time I teach any type of introduction to college courses, I always include a lesson and group discussion about financial aid and the FAFSA.
I feel like I would be doing my students a disservice if I didn’t.
It is so critical to the college conversation!
3. Host a parent information / workshop night for FAFSA completion.
A parent information / workshop night can be as simple as 2 nights for a month.
I remember having these sessions when I was a College and Career Readiness Coordinator. I facilitated multiple Cash for College workshops for local high schools.
It was awesome to help parents and students complete the FAFSA on the spot.
All questions answered. No back and forth.
During these info sessions, I let parents know major deadlines, resources, and how they can get help.
I printed a handout of relevant information and even invited local financial aid advisors (from local colleges) to help.
It was a hit.
With parents on board and informed, students and families can feel more confident about making the decision to apply for financial aid for college.
Therefore, being strategic in preparing students and families for the FAFSA by promoting ahead of time, keeping things simple and collaborating with local college financial advisors, saved me so much time!
It’s a win-win. For everyone.
How are you preparing for financial aid season? Connect with me on social media @collegecounselortraci and let me know!