Alabama marks Free Application for Federal Student Aid opening by declaring state holiday
Updated: Oct 29, 2021
Students nationwide "got the green light" today with the opening of the enrollment process for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In Alabama, higher education hopefuls and advocates celebrated too, as Governor Kay Ivey officially declared October as FAFSA Completion Month in Alabama.
Alabama Possible, one of the state's leading education advocacy organizations, has enlivened the FAFSA celebration by encouraging citizens to wear green to mark the start of the 2022-2023 application period. The organization works with post-secondary institutions across Alabama to improve enrollment and retention numbers by various means, among them, educating students and administrators on the value and impact of financial aid.
Across the United States, the FAFSA is required for any student seeking federal and state financial aid, including grants and scholarships in some colleges. Most Alabama students qualify for Pell Grants of up to $6,495 per year. Unlike other types of financial aid, Pell Grants do not have to be paid back.
Only 50.0% of Alabama’s graduating class of 2021 completed the FAFSA, leaving $60 million in grants on the table. Research shows that 92% of students who complete the FAFSA enroll in a post-secondary pathway the following fall. The state aims to add 500,000 highly-skilled Alabamians with valuable credentials by 2025 in order to meet the demands of state's workforce. In the drive to reach that goal, the Alabama State Board of Education passed an opt-out FAFSA policy on April 8, 2021. This policy will make FAFSA completion part of the graduation checklist, with the option to opt-out.
“The launching of the FAFSA campaign across the state is a significant act that’s essential to increasing the number of students who enter a post-secondary pathway. The Governor’s support is not only vital to helping us achieve the overall goal of adding 500,000 Alabamians with valuable credentials, but is also a catalyst to increasing awareness and bridging resources and talents that are essential to breaking barriers to prosperity in our state,” said Chandra Scott the Executive Director of Alabama Possible.