VISTA and AmeriCorps volunteers will be helping high school seniors and their parents in six Iowa school districts fill out the complicated federal forms required to qualify for financial aid.
The districts of Cedar Rapids, Estherville, Fort Dodge, Muscatine, Ottumwa and Sioux City were chosen as part of an effort to boost the number of high school graduates who go on to college or technical school. There will be a “summer transition program” in each of those districts, too, according to Iowa College Student Aid Commission executive director Karen Misjak.
“Lots of times the student plans to go to college at the end of their senior year, but they don’t show up on campus,” she said this morning. “so we’re trying to put some program in place to really assist students and parents for the transfer from high school to college.”
This Sunday, October 1, high school seniors may start filling out what’s called the FAFSA — the “Free Application for Federal Student Aid.” Allison Furman is attending Waldorf University in Forest City on a variety of scholarships and loans. Furman said she wouldn’t have gotten that financial help if she hadn’t filled out the FAFSA last year.
“The FAFSA’s easy to fill out,” Furman said. “All you have to do is go online to their website and follow the directions that are given to you.”
Furman is a 2017 graduate of Saydel High School. She was invited to speak to a group of Saydel seniors this morning.
“There are so many key factors linked to your FAFSA and this is why we are all stressing to you the importance of it,” Furman said. “And make sure when you’re filling it out, there’s a deadline that you need to fill out your FAFSA by and the sooner you get it done, the better of you’re going to be.”
Governor Kim Reynolds also spoke to the group of Saydel seniors about getting another degree or technical certificate after they finish high school.
“My goal, as governor of the great state of Iowa, is to build a better Iowa and one of the ways that this can be done and one of my top four priorities is by educating our children for a knowledge economy,” Reynolds said to open the event. “For that to happen, we know that we need to make high education more affordable and attainable for all Iowans, especially (the) underserved.”
Saydel has just joined 113 other Iowa school using tracking software to see which students in the senior class have filled out the FAFSA. According to Saydel’s superintendent, the district has a high percentage of students living in poverty and high percentage of seniors who would be the first in their family to attend college — if they can secure financial assistance.
AUDIO of Reynolds’ weekly news conference, 30:00 (this subject addressed in beginning)