Haslam Proclaims January 12 TN FAFSA Frenzy Day
Encourages Students to Submit FAFSA by January 17 to Meet Tennessee Promise Deadline
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has proclaimed Thursday, January 12, as the first “TN FAFSA Frenzy Day,” encouraging high school seniors and current college students to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by January 17 to maintain eligibility for key scholarship programs including Tennessee Promise. Tennessee Promise is the state’s groundbreaking scholarship and mentoring program that provides high school graduates two years of community or technical college free of tuition and fees.
“Across Tennessee, 60,000 high school seniors submitted a Tennessee Promise application this fall and made a commitment to higher education. Submitting the FAFSA is the next step,” Haslam said. “This Thursday, January 12, is our first TN FAFSA Frenzy Day, and you’ll see colleges, nonprofits and state government agencies partnering with high schools statewide to ensure that as many students as possible get their FAFSA submitted. For the past two years our state has led the nation in FAFSA filings, one of the best indicators of a growing college-going culture in Tennessee. We want to continue that momentum this year and encourage students to apply by January 17.”
This past fall marked the first time the FAFSA was available starting on October 1. The revised FAFSA timeline, as well as new rules allowing filers to use prior tax information, have provided an opportunity for a strong, collaborative push across Tennessee to empower as many students as possible to access funds they need to attend postsecondary institutions. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC), the Tennessee Department of Education, tnAchieves, Southwest Tennessee Development District’s Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI) and the Ayers Foundation have collaborated to create a campaign to increase statewide FAFSA filing rates called TN FAFSA Frenzy.
On TN FAFSA Frenzy Day representatives from THEC, TSAC, higher education institutions and nonprofit organizations across the state will be available in local schools, along with counselors and educators, to assist students and families in submitting the FAFSA. More information, including FAFSA filing rates by high school, can be found at www.tnfafsafrenzy.gov.
“TN FAFSA Frenzy Day is a way for high schools, colleges, state agencies and local communities to better support our college bound students,” THEC and TSAC Executive Director Mike Krause said. “When students file the FAFSA they are completing an important milestone on the path to college and helping Tennessee to meet the critical goals set through the Drive to 55.”
In 2016, Tennessee’s FAFSA filing rate led the nation with 70.3 percent of the state’s high school seniors filing the application. Tennessee also saw historic rises in first-time college enrollment with the Tennessee Promise scholarship in 2015-16. The state’s college-going rate grew by 5 percentage points in one year, and 16,291 students enrolled using the scholarship. The state saw a 10 percent increase in first-time freshman enrollment, including a 25 percent increase at community colleges and a 20 percent increase at Tennessee’s Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs).
The FAFSA determines a student’s eligibility for federal and state aid to pay for higher education. In Tennessee, the FAFSA is required for a student to access state aid and scholarships such as the HOPE Lottery Scholarship and Tennessee Promise. To remain eligible for Tennessee Promise, students must submit the FAFSA by Tuesday, January 17. The FAFSA is available at https://fafsa.ed.gov/.
About the Drive to 55
In 2013, Governor Haslam launched the Drive to 55 to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025. As a result, the Drive to 55 has established the Tennessee Promise program, the nation’s first scholarship and mentorship program that provides high school graduates last-dollar scholarships to attend two years of community or technical college free of tuition and fees; reduced the number of college freshmen requiring remediation through the SAILS (Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support) program; provided free technical college for adults through TCAT Reconnect Grants; created Tennessee Reconnect + Complete to help more adults return to college to complete unfinished degrees; developed a more comprehensive state approach to serving student veterans; and leveraged technology to enhance classroom instruction and college advising.