CREEDMOOR, N.C. — College Application Week is underway in North Carolina. It's a time when many colleges and universities waive application fees. While the savings on applications help, paying for college is a whole different story.
What You Need to Know
- College Application Week is Oct. 18-22 in North Carolina
- The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) opened up Oct. 1
- For help with the process, FAFSA Day is coming up Oct. 23
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as FAFSA, opened up Oct. 1. It is the process for students to apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, work-study and loans.
After a year with fewer students submitting FAFSA applications in North Carolina, advocates are encouraging the process and hoping changes this year will boost filings. Overall, submissions dropped by 3% in the state during the pandemic, according to myFutureNC. But that wasn’t the case at each school.
South Granville High School in Creedmoor was one of five schools across the state awarded a FAFSA Innovation Grant. The school managed to boost submissions by 8% last year.
Kiera Lindner is a College Advising Corps Counselor at South Granville High School. It’s a nationwide program that places recent college graduates with partner institutions to help low-income and first-generation students attend college.
Her entire job is focused on encouraging and assisting students as they complete the FAFSA, college admissions and navigate the transition from high school to higher education. In her time there, she’s helped several students navigate full-ride scholarships to college.
“Even if it means they’re messaging me on Instagram at like 10 p.m. on a Friday night, [saying,] ‘Help me finish this application, please, I really want to go to this school,’” Lindner said. "If it means they get in, or at least have a chance to get in and do something they otherwise would not have done, I mean, I feel really blessed to be a part of that.”
Saturday, October 23 is FAFSA Day in North Carolina, a day where many colleges and universities across the state will host drive-through events. Click here for a full list of participating institutions.
The deadline to submit the FAFSA is June 30, 2022, but it’s in a student's best interest to submit it earlier to qualify for federal, state and college-offered grants.
There are some noteworthy changes about this year's FAFSA. Last year, Congress passed the FAFSA Simplification Act. It expanded the Federal Pell Grant from $6,000 to $8,000.
It also eliminated the selective service requirement for men. It used to be required to qualify for federal aid. According to Lindner, students will still have a question about that on this year's application, however the answer is irrelevant.
There is also no longer a subsidized usage limit.
The act also eliminated the negative consequences for answering "yes" on the drug conviction question.
To learn more about the changes involved in the FAFSA Simplification Act, click here.