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MSDE Recommends Strategies to Help Graduating HS Seniors and Families Complete College Financial Aid Forms


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MSDE Recommends Strategies to Help Graduating HS Seniors and Families Complete College Financial Aid Forms

The priority FAFSA deadline for guaranteed state financial aid is Wednesday, May 15. The final deadline is Saturday, June 1.

BALTIMORE (May 14, 2024) — The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has released strategies to assist local school districts with helping more students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

FAFSA is the application for approximately $130 million in state scholarships and grants available through the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). Completion rates are down this year locally and statewide. According to recent estimates, the Maryland completion rate is approximately 23 percent lower than 2023 figures. MSDE has partnered with MHEC to increase FAFSA completion. The priority deadline for guaranteed state aid is Wednesday, May 15. Eligible students who meet Wednesday’s deadline are guaranteed to be awarded state financial aid. 

“Ensuring equitable opportunities for all students is a top priority,” said Dr. Carey M. Wright, State Superintendent of Schools. “Completing the FAFSA is a critical step in making higher education accessible and affordable.”

The final deadline for access to state aid is Saturday, June 1. The recommended strategies for school districts and leaders include the following:

  • Dedicate time during academic periods for high school seniors to work on completing the FAFSA. 
  • Partner with local community colleges and college access groups to provide support and follow-up assistance.
  • Work with school counselors to identify students with incomplete forms. Provide one-on-one support to take them through the process, step by step.
  • Facilitate lunchtime or advisory group sessions with students to offer guidance and assistance.
  • Communicate the importance of FAFSA completion through direct outreach to high school seniors, families, and parent groups.

The U.S. Department of Education has also created resources to assist students and families, including a toolkit, how-to videos and pro tips for completing the 2024-25 FAFSA form.