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Capital Area College Access Network encourages filling out FAFSA early

Published: Oct. 9, 2020 at 9:46 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - In this edition of ‘Schools Rule,' WILX News 10 is looking into how to successfully get financial aid, especially during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, FAFSA, opened on October 1st. It is available for high school seniors and college students who need financial help for the next school year.

“There is probably no other time in our life, including mine, where staying in school and continuing your education beyond school is really critical,” said Michele Strasz, the Executive Director with the Capital Area College Access Network (CAPCAN). "70% of jobs before the pandemic already required some type of post-secondary degree or credential. Now, with more and more things going automated and certainly more virtual it’s important for students to continue to have the degrees to meet the job demand that will be coming post-pandemic,” Strasz continued.

Strasz says there are more financial resources for the 2021-2022 school year than ever before.

"Because of the changes that families are experiencing you may have to spend a little more time with FAFSA or with your college or university that you’ve applied to to be able to say, ‘Our circumstances have changed,’” said Strasz.

Strasz says the FAFSA itself has not changed but it will take extra legwork when it comes to finding extra financial help. She adds, with everything going on, it is okay if students feel overwhelmed.

“It’s important for students to know that there’s no shame in asking for help,” Strasz explained.

CAPCAN’s ‘FAFSA Flocked’ campaign will also kick off soon. Strasz says her agency uses it as a fun way to remind students to fill out the FAFSA.

“We’ll be doing some fun things on social media with our flamingos, we’ll still be flocking our high schools,” said Strasz. ‘Flocking’ a high school refers to the pink yard flamingos CAPCAN places on high school lawns.

The FAFSA application is open right now and available at FAFSA.gov. Strasz says students should never have to pay to fill out the FAFSA but federal aid is determined on a first-come first-serve basis.

The deadline to submit the FAFSA is March 1st.

Strasz also recommends Michigan students look into the ‘Futures for Frontliners’ Scholarship. It is designed to help children of essential workers as well as essential workers themselves get extra aid for the upcoming school year. More information on that scholarship can be found on Michigan.gov.

CAPCAN recommends students reach out to their school guidance counselors for help filling out the FAFSA regardless of if students are learning in their school buildings or online.

FAFSA applicants can also reach out to the Capital Area College Access Network at:

Phone number: (517) 203-5011

Email: collegequestions@capcan.org

Copyright 2020 WILX. All rights reserved.

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