For Immediate Release: February 3, 2015
RICHMOND — While thousands of families gathered around the television to watch the Super Bowl, far fewer will gather around the computer to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is the form students must complete for colleges, universities, and career-technical schools to consider them for federal financial aid, most state financial aid, and financial assistance programs from the individual institutions.
A study by NerdWallet.com found 17,388 students in Virginia were eligible for Pell Grants but did not apply. With an average award of $3,536, that leaves more than $61 million on the table that Virginia students could have received. Such wasted opportunity is what prompted the General Assembly to designate February as Financial Aid Awareness Month in Virginia.
This month, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) is teaming up with the Virginia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (VASFAA) and the Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) on the Super FAFSA Project. As part of the Project, students and families will receive hands-on assistance and/or resources to help tackle this important step toward financing college goals.
Specifically, the Super FAFSA Project is targeting seniors at 25 public high schools that serve student populations where 50 percent or more are eligible for the National School Lunch Program. Through this process, many of these seniors will qualify for free, need-based state grants and the Federal Pell Grant.
“Goal number one of SCHEV’s recently completed Strategic Plan for Higher Education in Virginia is affordable access for all,” said SCHEV Director Peter Blake. “The Super FAFSA Project is an ideal way to address that goal by reaching out to those who need financial assistance and help them understand the process of obtaining it.”
The 25 participating schools are listed at www.vasfaa.org/super. As part of the Super FAFSA Project, the website also provides valuable information for those interested in planning events and or providing related materials to families. To find a free financial assistance event near you, visit VASFAA’s statewide financial aid events calendar, also found on the website at www.vasfaa.org/super.
SCHEV is the Commonwealth’s coordinating body for Virginia’s system of higher education. The agency provides policy guidance and budget recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly, and is a resource for information on higher education issues.
For more information, contact Kirsten Nelson, Director of Communications and Government Relations at 804-225-2627 or firstname.lastname@example.org.