Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development
September 30, 2021Application for student financial aid opens Oct. 1
Free FAFSA events set to provide assistance, Show-Me FAFSA Challenge kicks off in Missouri
The primary form used to determine student financial aid eligibility will open Oct. 1, for students enrolling in the 2022-2023 academic year. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, often known as the FAFSA, is used by colleges and universities, the state, and federal government to award grants, scholarships, work-study, and student loans. Students should submit a FAFSA every year they plan to attend college.
The Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development (MDHEWD), in conjunction with schools and college access groups around the state, will be hosting FAFSA Frenzy events to help students and families file the FAFSA. Public and private FAFSA Frenzy events will be held October 2021 through February 2022. Financial aid professionals, high school counselors, and other volunteers provide free assistance and answer questions during FAFSA Frenzy events.
“FAFSA Frenzy events have been helping students and families overcome the barriers associated with applying for student aid for nearly 20 years,” said Zora Mulligan, commissioner of higher education. “The FAFSA is the first and primary step to securing financial aid for college. With free assistance through these events, students complete an important part of the college-planning process, helping them make more informed decisions about which school they want to attend and how they’re going to pay for it.”
Students can receive help at any public FAFSA Frenzy event, no matter where they live, go to school, or plan to attend college. The public events – held at high schools, college campuses, and community facilities – are open to all high school seniors, current college students, and adults interested in attending college.
Missouri students attending a FAFSA Frenzy event can apply online for one of 20 $500 Journey to College Scholarships through Scholarship Central at https://myscholarshipcentral.org/.
A list of public FAFSA Frenzy sites can be viewed at https://journeytocollege.mo.gov/fafsa-frenzy/. So far more 30 public events are scheduled, and more than 80 Missouri high schools are also hosting private events to assist their students.
When attending an event, FAFSA Frenzy participants should bring:
- 2020 W-2 forms
- Copies of their 2020 tax forms
- Social Security number
- Student and parent FSA IDs (Students and parents should apply for separate usernames and passwords at studentaid.gov before attending a FAFSA Frenzy event.)
FAFSA Frenzy is sponsored annually by the MDHEWD, in partnership with the Missouri Association of Student Financial Aid Personnel, the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority, and the National College Attainment Network.
Volunteers have assisted more than 25,000 Missouri students since FAFSA completion events began in 2004. Anyone with FAFSA knowledge that is interested in assisting at a FAFSA Frenzy event this year should visit dhewd.mo.gov/ppc/fafsafrenzy.php to learn about volunteer opportunities. Schools and organizations can still sign up to host an event as well.
The launch of the new FAFSA also kicks off the Show-Me FAFSA Challenge, an initiative now in its second year to help encourage and incentivize high schools to host FAFSA events and help their high school seniors complete the application.
Public high schools throughout the state will compete with each other for scholarship prizes, which will be awarded to one student at each of the winning schools. Schools will be sorted into three groups based on school size. Each group will compete for prizes in four categories, including highest completion rate, most improved completion rate, greatest percentage of lowest income students filed, and most innovative strategy.
The Show-Me FAFSA Challenge ends on April 1, 2022, the final Access Missouri Grant deadline. The Missouri Scholarship & Loan Foundation and the Missouri College Access Network are sponsoring the scholarship prizes.
On Friday, Oct. 1, at 1 p.m., MDHEWD will host an introductory webinar to share information about the competition and how schools can monitor their progress by using the Show-Me FAFSA Challenge online tracker to view their progress and other FAFSA data.
For more information about the competition, to see last year’s winning schools, and to register for the introductory webinar, visit the Show-Me FAFSA Challenge webpage at https://dhewd.mo.gov/ppc/fafsachallenge.php.
About the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development: The department works to empower Missourians with the skills and education needed for success. More information about MDHEWD can be found at https://dhewd.mo.gov or on Facebook and Twitter @MoDHEWD.