President Obama Announces New FAFSA Completion Initiative

Earlier today at Coral Reef High School in Miami, President Obama announced the launch of an exciting initiative to help ensure that more of America’s students take the first step towards college success: completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

FAFSA GraphicThe FAFSA Completion Initiative helps states, districts and schools give students the support they need to complete the form which serves as the gateway to accessing financial aid for college, career school, or graduate school.

The FAFSA not only gives students access to the nearly $150 billion in grants, loans, and work-study funds that the federal government has available, but many states, schools, and private scholarships require you to submit the FAFSA before they will consider you for any financial aid they offer.

FAFSA Completion Initiative:

  • We will be partnering with states to enable them to provide to schools and districts limited, yet valuable information on student progress in completing the FAFSA  beginning in the 2014-15 school year.
  • Additionally, the Office of Federal Student Aid has updated the existing FAFSA completion tool with FAFSA completion numbers for the 2014 high school graduating class at over 25,000 high schools across the nation.
  • These new resources can help increase FAFSA completion rates, and by extension, promote college access and success.


Cameron Brenchley is director of digital strategy at the U.S. Department of Education


  1. I have used FAFSA I hate using it, but to be honest I think having a one stop medium for loans and aid helps a student not have to go from bank to bank like in the old days to get a loan. It also helps people of low income to understand what they are agreeing to when they take out loans and if anything should motivate them to finish what they start. If people really are low on money they should just attend local colleges. You won’t have to get room and board (BIG MONEY SAVER), in state tuition, and the extra loan money you may have can go towards your food, or rent budget if you just have to get out your parents house. If I had this strategy before starting my education journey I’d have a degree with 20,000 debt and not 40,000 like now

  2. I’d like to see President Obama get behind and fully fund the federal TRIO programs under Title IV, Financial Aid to reach more low income, first generation college youth and adults. TRIO programs like EOC (Educational Opportunity Center) and Talent Search are funded to assist with fafsa, college information, and career guidance. Let’s make sure the students have direction and support. TRIO + FAFSA = Success

  3. Fafsa is merely a tool for the colleges to determine how big the pie is so they can take the biggest slice when they set tuitions. You cannot attend without filling it out. It is also the vehicle that starts you out towards an entity called NelNet. They wont tell you about that now, but it will become a part of your life immediately after you graduate. Google ‘NelNet’ and see what your life with big brother will be like. good luck with all that, you voted for it.

  4. Heard the President’s speech, at Coral Reef HS in Miami where he emphasized the completion of the FAFSA form (it’s quite a presentation). Suddenly, I saw a connection.

    My wife is in income tax preparation business. During tax season, we see a range of clients, most who earn about $25K a year, to get their taxes prepared. That tax return is THE main ingredient to completing the FAFSA. That is a “value stream”, however, that is not what it could be.

    There are a lot of college funds available for students from low-income families, such as my wife’s clientele, but it is a “hard sell” that starts with the FAFSA.

    The vision regarding a possible college career begins hopefully, in the earliest school days, and high schools can help start the financial process through their guidance programs. But that is a weak approach, since it relies upon the kids. And, of course, once admitted to a college (and the “hook has been set”), the college’s finance office can continue the process – it’s in their own best interest. It is that initial spark of possibility, unfortunately, that is the hardest to kindle.

    The key is getting to the parents, but they don’t know the money that is available. They know they have to do income taxes, and they come to tax preparers, like my wife. The “college value stream” can begin right at that point – in the tax preparer’s office – if the elements are there.

    Tax preparers have the computers and the office space, but not the knowledge or the software to complete FAFSA forms. And, it is not enough to refer the parent to the high school guidance office to complete the FAFSA form – and I am not even sure if they do FAFSAs, anyway.

    Am looking for help to extend the FAFSA “value stream” closer to the parent/student and their income tax return, as they sit in the preparer’s office. If the parent can see what is possible, financially, that may strike the spark that leads to a college graduate.

    • Refer students to an Educational Opportunity Center (Trio Program) throughout the United States. The Trio office is funded by the United States Department of Education. If you need help with the admission process, completing college applications, financial aid process (FAFSA), defaulted student loan process, scholarship searchers and application fee waivers. All high school students and adults beyond high school who are interested in returning to college are welcome to use this service. Google Trio programs in Florida. If you are unable to find one, please email me. Thanks.

  5. These young people can’t even fill out forms on their own, and you expect them to succeed in college? Are you going to hold their hands as you walk them to school — I mean, college — as well?

    I remember the experience of assigning Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” to a summer school class preparing for Advanced Placement English; the students had difficulty with that quite challenging text, but they got the chance to understand better the spirit that helped this country advance to a position of world leadership. Lessons like this appear to have been lost upon the current administration, which is leaving Americans more dependent and more incompetent at a time when we should be working to prepare more competent young adults for global competition.

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