Low-income students (families) are making fewer deposits for college this fall than in previous years, and those who are making deposits are NOT submitting the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Of course, this makes sense considering parents may be unemployed or under-employed as a result of the coronavirus and shelter-in-place (SIP) orders. Many parents are overwhelmed and probably don’t realize that they need to complete the FAFSA for scholarships and financial aid.
When parents and students don’t complete the FAFSA, their colleges don’t know how much their families can pay for college tuition, room and board. Colleges generally won’t give scholarships or financial aid offers without the FAFSA.
Black and Latinx families make up a huge percentage of students and families who haven’t filled out the FAFSA and who may not attend college this year. Parents can start filling out the FAFSA in October and the actual opening date is January 1st. The official deadline is in March, but parents can fill out the form as late as June 30th.
We need to tell low- and middle-income families to complete the FAFSA to learn about scholarships and financial aid their children may receive. It’s vital that we make a college education available to all students of any ethnicity and any socio-economic status.