To increase the completion rate of critical college financial aid forms, the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) has launched a comprehensive outreach campaign aimed at getting more financial aid to graduating seniors interested in attending
To increase the completion rate of critical college financial aid forms, the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) has launched a comprehensive outreach campaign aimed at getting more financial aid to graduating seniors interested in attending college.
Importantly, it also has scheduled two virtual question and answer forums in collaboration with the Rhode Island Department of Education to be held on January 20th (English) at 5:00 p.m. and January 27th (Spanish), at 4:00 p.m. Free registration is available at collegeplanningcenter.org.
According to Charles Kelley, Executive Director of RISLA, the goal of the campaign is to increase the completion rate of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which is the gateway to free federal and college grants and federal loans. “Currently, Rhode Island ranks 11th in the country with a 32.5 percent FAFSA completion rate. We would like to achieve a 70 percent completion rate so clearly, we have our work cut out for us.”
He continued, “In past years, our FAFSA completion rate has been among the best in the country and we hope to replicate that positive response. To assist high school guidance counselors, our College Planning Center has developed a broad-based campaign that provides students with the tools they need to complete the forms in as easy and hassle-free way as possible.”
In addition to the virtual question and answer forums for parents and students, the education campaign includes:
Newspaper and radio ads in English and Spanish that promote the availability of assistance;
“How to videos” in Spanish and English which can be found on the College Planning Center website at collegeplanningcenter.org;
Students and families can text the word “FAFSA” to 24000
to schedule an over the phone help session with experts from the College Planning Center and to view helpful videos in English or Spanish;
RIPTA bus ads promoting “Starts with the FAFSA” for critical financial aid which has a February deadline;
Social media ads and posts in English and Spanish.
Social media channels for the campaign include:
Facebook: College Planning Center of RI
“As always, we at the College Planning Center (CPC) are working with high school guidance counselors to communicate the importance of filling out the FAFSA, and we are hopeful the use of a variety of channels will help us have a conversation about the array of tools at their disposal,” explained Stacy Crooks, Director of the RISLA College Planning Center. “Additionally, we have extended our hours at the CPC to Monday through Friday, 9:00 am – 7:00 pm and Saturdays, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.
Finally, RISLA has developed an on-line tool kit which may be accessed at: www.https://info.risla.com/en/fafsatoolkit
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