Libraries Asked to Help Promote FAFSA Resources

picture of FAFSA poster

During the College and Career Ready Summit in summer 2012, library staff explored the role they could take in moving more Idaho students on to college and career paths.

The Idaho State Board of Education recently set a goal that 60 percent of adults between the ages of 25 and 34 will have a college degree or certificate by the year 2020. Currently, just a third of Idaho residents have an associate’s degree or higher. Affordability remains one of the biggest barriers for Idahoans to start and complete college or other post-secondary training.*  Helping parents and students to take the first step to finding financial aid resources by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) would go a long way toward reducing the barrier of affordability. Here are several things we can do as individuals, library entities, and as a state to help.

Individuals:

  • If you know any parents of a high school senior, send them this link today: Idaho State Board of Education FAFSA link. Staff have looked at hundreds of FAFSA links and narrowed the resources down to four easy-to-understand sources for FAFSA information.

Public, school, and academic libraries:

  • Idaho State Board of Education FAFSA link: Provide this on your library’s website.
  • FAFSA Completion Events Calendar: Make this available to the public. It is available as a widget for websites or you could print out a month and post at the library. If there’s an event in your community, help get the word out.
  • February is Financial Aid Awareness Month. Plan an event or interesting way to share information with patrons. Download this JPEG poster and customize it to promote upcoming FAFSA events.
  • Idaho Career Information System (CIS): Promote resources like CIS, with comprehensive online career information, where users can explore career opportunities; find educational programs, the schools that offer them, and scholarships related to those opportunities; and make successful career decisions and educational plans.
  • College Access Network: The State Board of Education is working to create a College Access Network to better share information about college and career ready resources. If any library staff members are interested in helping train volunteers to guide parents through the FAFSA process or have any other ideas for how they can become more active in reducing barriers to college, please contact Stephanie Bailey White at ICfL and she will pass your name along to the subcommittee that's working on that now. They are hoping to have four or five pilot libraries that might be willing to take on this issue.

As a state:

  • Continue to promote and sustain the new FAFSA Completion Events Calendar. Numerous events are taking place around the state to help students fill out their FAFSA. The calendar lists parent nights, financial aid nights, and FAFSA completion events around the state.
  • Collaborate when possible with other state and community organizations, agencies and entities to help more people go on to access college and career readiness courses and resources.

 

*  Reducing Barriers to Postsecondary Education Evaluation Report, January 2012, Office of Performance Evaluations for the Idaho Legislature, www.legislature.idaho.gov/ope/publications/reports/r1201.pdf

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