Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development
September 30, 2022Free Application for Federal Student Aid opens Saturday, Oct. 1
FAFSA Frenzy 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 2023-2024 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 2022 through March 2023. Financial aid professionals, high school counselors, and other volunteers provide free assistance and answer questions during FAFSA Frenzy events.
“Filing the FAFSA is the first step to understanding how to pay for college,” said Jessica Duren, assistant commissioner for communications and outreach. “While the form can be confusing, these free events provide on-on-one assistance to students and their families to navigate this important step 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 than 30 public events are scheduled, and more than 60 Missouri high schools are also hosting private events to assist their students.
When attending an event, FAFSA Frenzy participants should bring:
- 2021 W-2 forms
- Copies of their 2021 tax forms
- Social Security number
- Student and parent FSA IDs (Students and parents should create 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 third 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, 2023, the final Access Missouri Grant deadline. The Missouri Scholarship & Loan Foundation and the Missouri College Access Network are sponsoring the scholarship prizes.
For more information about the competition and to see the FAFSA tracker from last year, visit the Show-Me FAFSA Challenge webpage at https://dhewd.mo.gov/ppc/fafsachallenge.php. The tracker will be updated with this year’s information once data from the new FAFSA becomes available.