PASSHE continues to push for summertime FAFSA applications as DOE continues to be bogged down by failed rollout

28 June 2024- Amid a months-long push by all 10 universities to support Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completions, four universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) are launching a regional summer initiative to help students throughout the commonwealth submit the online form.

The PASSHE Foundation received a $357,602 award administered by Educational Credit Management Corporation, with funding from the U.S. Department of Education, to support FAFSA outreach this summer.

The information students provide on the FAFSA is used to determine eligibility for a federal Pell Grant, PA State Grant, scholarships, institutional awards, work-study employment programs, federal student loans and other financial aid packages.

“It’s not too late. Students still have time to complete the FAFSA, receive financial aid and enroll at a PASSHE university for the fall semester,” said PASSHE Chancellor Dan Greenstein. “PASSHE is proud to offer the lowest cost four-year college education in Pennsylvania, and we want every student to know you can still apply for financial aid and go to college. Our universities are here to help you submit the FAFSA and start or continue college.”

The four PASSHE universities represent regions throughout Pennsylvania: Commonwealth (north central), Millersville (east), Shippensburg (south central) and Slippery Rock (west).

Each university will customize a FAFSA outreach strategy to the unique needs of their region, offering new and returning students and families reminders to complete the FAFSA, support information and assistance with submitting the form online with the U.S. Department of Education.

Help will be provided to students attending PASSHE and non-PASSHE institutions.

Students may receive emails, postcards, phone calls or texts with reminders and resources, as well as invitations to community FAFSA events, webinars and other information. The universities will raise awareness through numerous marketing efforts, including social media.

“We are so very grateful to ECMC for this award. This has been a challenging year for students to complete the FAFSA, so we’re thankful for the extra funding to ramp up outreach over the summer to help them get the support they need,” said Shelley Scherer, president and CEO of the PASSHE Foundation, which secured the funding. “This award will help our universities reach more students and families, and most importantly, will help additional students get the financial support they need to start their affordable college education in the fall.”

Greenstein added, “I thank all of our universities and the students and families for their hard work in responding to the new FAFSA. This summer outreach will build on the universities’ ongoing efforts to help students submit the FAFSA and reduce the completion gap for Pennsylvania.”

The FAFSA completion rate is down nearly 12% in Pennsylvania for the high school class of 2024 compared to last year, according to the National College Attainment Network. Pennsylvania’s rate decline is similar to the national decrease, as of June 14.

The U.S. Department of Education launched a new FAFSA on December 31, 2023, three months later than normal and several issues, delays and errors created a rocky start and submission rates declined nationwide.