It’s November, which means many high school seniors and their parents are starting their journey through the financial aid process for the first time. In a lot of states, it is also the time of year that financial aid administrators and college planning professionals normally plan in-person programs to assist families in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and to educate them about the financial aid process. However, this is 2020, so nothing is ‘normal.’ COVID-19 has made getting together in person difficult, if not impossible, depending on your state’s rules, and coming up with online programming on your own is challenging.
Enter Federal Student Aid. We paid a visit to the resources page and found a plethora of resources – booklets, videos, fact sheets – often in both English and Spanish that are geared to students in every stage of the college attendance process from early college planning in middle school to selecting a loan repayment plan.
Let’s say you want to replicate your usual event around FAFSA completion using Zoom (or some other online platform). Have your attendees sign up ahead of time and give them some pre-work so everyone is ready to jump into the FAFSA when they join. You won’t have a roster of FAFSA experts who can answer the inevitable individual questions that arise, so send your attendees the FAFSA Dependency and Who’s My Parent When I Fill Out My FAFSA? graphics and a link to the video How to Create Your FSA ID. When you reach the section with tax return information, share the Simple Steps to Transfer Tax Information Into Your FAFSA Form graphic.
At the end of your event, share the After the FAFSA: What Happens Next video for attendees to watch on their own. You can’t exactly replicate your four-hour, in-person event digitally (people get Zoomed-out after about 60 minutes), but you can provide all the information your attendees would have received pre-COVID.
You can repeat this exercise for any type of event you may want to plan for your students, their parents or the general public. Why spend valuable time (you may be home, but you’re still super busy!) developing your own materials on topics related to financial aid and student loans when you can get them from free from ED?
If your campus needs help with processing 2021/22 FAFSA applications, the Higher Education Assistance Group is here to help! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-928-1975 and we will have further discussions with you to put together a business proposal that best suits your needs.