“Students like you want to take that next step and have big dreams. We want you to know that we’re there to help you achieve those dreams. We want to make sure that we’re giving every student who’s willing to put in the effort all the tools that they need in order to succeed.”—President Obama, 9/14/15
Every young person deserves the opportunity to have access to a high-quality education. That’s why President Obama has made a historic investment in student aid and implemented reforms to make sure earning a college degree is within reach for all students willing to work for it. Today, more students are graduating college than ever before — and many historically underserved students are enrolling in college for the first time with fewer student loans and other barriers.
As part of President Obama’s work to ensure all students have a fair shot at an education, the President and the U.S. Department of Education announced this week that they are launching this year’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) early this year on October 1st, instead of the traditional January 1st date.
This early start helps ensure that more students can access the financial aid information they need to move forward and take advantage of this investment.
The Administration has also introduced new efforts to help streamline the FAFSA process and help connect students and families with resources such as the College Scorecard that can help support them through the college decision process.
Yesterday, Secretary of Education, John King, stopped by the press briefing room to discuss how these changes to the FAFSA will help provide better information to families earlier to inform their decisions about where to go to college and also how they’ll be able to afford college.
Watch: Secretary King stops by the White House Press Briefing
Overall, the federal government provides nearly $180 billion in financial aid. Since the President took office, over 160 million FAFSA forms have been completed. The majority of FAFSA filers were first-generation and Pell-eligible students, for whom these scholarships can mean the difference between earning a degree or not.
And this remarkable progress does not stop there: the new FAFSA will have streamlined the process and make it easier for students to begin that first step in accessing federal financial aid than ever before.
This kind of progress helps people like Jylian from Indiana, who wrote to President Obama to share how her life was changed by access to education:
Dear Mr. President,
This letter is to thank whomever it is I need to thank for the Frank O’Bannon Grant program and Pell grant program that helped me the past 4 years. I am a single mom of 4 children ages 6 to 15 one with special needs. My husband left me as a stay at home mom, I had no degree and needed to find a way to support my family. I decided to go back for a medical degree at IvyTech/IUPUI in Indianapolis Indiana. I’ve been studying the past 4 years, made the dean’s list and was accepted into a highly sought after program in Radiography. I’ve always wanted to work in the medical field to help others and one day be able to use it in the mission field if possible.
None of this would have been possible without these 2 grant programs. This truly helped me achieve a solid medical career and support my family on a moderate salary rather than minimum wage. I graduate in May of 2015. This is my senior year and everything is going very well. I pray these programs continue to help others like me achieve a stable life for their family. My family is a blessing and these grants truly meant the difference between an education and career and struggling to support my family. Thank you to those in our government who support keeping these programs. God bless!!
You can take action starting tomorrow by visiting here and start your FAFSA application.
Jazmin Kay and Crystal Miller are interns in the Office of Digital Strategy.