‘TN FAFSA Frenzy Day’ encourages students to apply for financial aid

Published 8:32 pm Thursday, January 12, 2017


High school seniors and current college students are ready to get into a “frenzy” with financial aid deadlines fast approaching.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Halsam proclaimed Thursday, Jan. 12, as the first “TN FAFSA Frenzy Day”, encouraging students to submit the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) by Tuesday, Jan. 17, to maintain eligibility for key scholarship programs, including the HOPE Lottery Scholarship and Tennessee Promise – the state’s scholarship program that provides high school graduates two years of community or technical college free of tuition and fees. The campaign was put in place in a collaborative effort by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC), the Tennessee Department of Education, tnAchieves, Southwest Tennessee Development District’s Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI) and the Ayer Foundation.
“Across Tennessee, 60,000 high school seniors submitted a Tennessee Promise application this fall and made a commitment to higher education. Submitting the FAFSA is the next step,” Halsam said in a statement released from the governor’s office. “This Thursday, Jan. 12, is our first TN FAFSA Frenzy Day, and you’ll see colleges, nonprofits and state government agencies partnering with high schools statewide to ensure that as many students as possible get their FAFSA submitted.
“For the past two years, our state had led the nation in FAFSA filings, one of the best indicators of a growing college-going culture in Tennessee. We want to continue that momentum this year and encourage students to apply by January 17.”
The newly revised FAFSA timeline was put in place during the fall of 2016, which saw students beginning to apply in October. According to the state, the new timeline has provided “an opportunity for a strong, collaborative push across Tennessee to empower as many students as possible to access funds they need to attend postsecondary institutions.”
“This is the key to unlock the path to be able to move on to postsecondary education,” Elizabethton City Director of Schools Dr. Corey Gardenhour said. “A lot of students feel like they aren’t able to go to college, technical school or state-sponsored school because they may not have enough money.
“I praise the Gov. Halsam for his stance on postsecondary education,” he added said. “I think it is a big step forward for Tennessee.”
State FAFSA filing submissions was pulled from the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Office and state education department’s senior grade enrollment file. According to the THEC, each FAFSA submission rate was calculated by dividing the number of FAFSA submissions by the number of senior students enrolled in high school.
Data compiled by the THEC features the five county schools and Elizabethton High School FAFSA submissions as of December 30 and compare this year’s totals to last year.
• Cloudland High School is near last year’s total with currently 63 percent of students already applied for financial aid. 70 percent of seniors applied last year.
• Unaka High School is near last year’s total as well with currently 46 percent of seniors already submitting their forms, compared to 54 percent from the previous year.
• Elizabethton High School currently has 48 percent of students that have applied for financial aid in 2017, compared to the 74 percent that applied last year.
• Hampton and Happy Valley high schools are near the same percentages. 48 percent of Happy Valley students have applied for financial aid while Hampton has 45 percent of their seniors already submitted.
Dr. Gardenhour added that with the proper paperwork and information from students and parents, the opportunities are endless for those looking to attend school.
“A lot of students that didn’t think they could afford college could ultimately find out they have the funding available to attend school,” he added.
Visit fafsa.ed.gov to apply for the FAFSA. Students must file their FAFSA before the January 17 deadline to remain eligible for the variety of grants.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox