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January 21, 2021

Finish Your FAFSA campaign encourages students to apply for college financial aid


Access Missouri priority deadline, Feb. 1


In an effort to promote completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) among high school seniors and returning college students, the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development (MDHEWD) is launching the Finish Your FAFSA campaign.

The campaign aims to increase overall FAFSA filing in Missouri, bring awareness to common FAFSA errors, and remind students of upcoming financial aid deadlines.

“The FAFSA is the primary application for most forms of federal and state financial aid programs, and some institutional grants and scholarships,” said Zora Mulligan, commissioner of higher education. “This campaign is about awareness. We hope to remind students that filing is the first step, but checking to make sure everything is accurate is just as important.”

Errors can prevent the application from being processed correctly, leaving students without the financial aid they may need to enroll.

Many students mistype their Social Security number, birthdate, or even forget to sign the application before submitting it. Students are encouraged to review their Student Aid Report to check for mistakes that may need correcting.

The priority deadline for the Access Missouri Grant Program – the state’s largest student financial aid program – is quickly approaching. Students must complete the FAFSA by Monday, Feb. 1, to be guaranteed a grant award if they meet all eligibility requirements.

Students completing the FAFSA after Feb. 1 but before the April 1 final deadline could still receive a grant if funding is available. However, early submission of the FAFSA is encouraged because funds are limited. The grant is the state’s only student aid program based on financial need.

More than 43,000 Missouri students received funding through the program during the 2019-20 academic year.

Also to increase FAFSA filing in the state, MDHEWD launched the Show-Me FAFSA Challenge in fall 2020. Public high schools throughout the state are competing with one another for scholarship prizes, which will be awarded to one student at each of the winning schools.

The Show-Me FAFSA Challenge officially started on Oct. 1, when the 2021-2022 FAFSA opened, and ends on April 1, the final Access Missouri Grant deadline. Learn more about the Show-Me FAFSA Challenge and find the challenge tracker at https://dhewd.mo.gov/ppc/fafsachallenge.php.

Students can file the FAFSA online at  https://fafsa.ed.gov/ or by downloading the new myStudentAid mobile app. There are still some FAFSA Frenzy events planned around the state to help students file.