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Local News: THEC Launches ‘FAFSA Frenzy’ Across Tennessee in July (7/11/24)
Local News: THEC Launches ‘FAFSA Frenzy’ Across Tennessee in July (7/11/24)

August 1 is the deadline to complete the FAFSA forms to receive the Tennessee Promise Scholarship.

While Dyersburg State Community College and TCAT-Northwest do not have any FAFSA Frenzy events planned, students on all of their campuses are welcome to stop by and get help completing the application before the Tennessee Promise Scholarship deadline of August 1.

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Special edition of the State Gazette

Nashville, Tennessee – The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) is partnering with dozens of education and community partners across the state for “FAFSA Frenzy,” a July campaign that encourages and supports students and families to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Completing the application is the first step to thousands of dollars in college grants and scholarships, including Tennessee Promise funds.

Although Tennessee students and families already have the highest percentage of high school graduates in the country who have completed this year’s FAFSA form, the latest national report shows that only 58.5% of high school graduates in the class of 2024 have completed the application so far this year, a decrease of nearly 11 percentage points from the same period last year.

“With the delayed introduction of the new FAFSA application this year, students in the class of 2024 faced unexpected challenges in completing their FAFSA application. However, we do not want them to miss out on the free financial aid and lifelong opportunities that a college degree or vocational training certificate can provide after high school,” said Dr. Steven Gentile, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

“That’s why partners across the state are joining forces for a final push, providing direct support and assistance with the FAFSA application to students and their families throughout July to ensure no one is left behind.”

Students and families can quickly get step-by-step help with the FAFSA application and ask questions at CollegeforTN.org/FAFSA. Additionally, many community colleges and partner organizations across the state host special in-person FAFSA nights and other help sessions that provide direct, one-on-one support. For a comprehensive calendar of FAFSA support events across the state, visit CollegeforTN.org/Events/

In addition, students and families will see reminders and encouraging messages on their social media channels throughout July.

“Many students, especially those who are the first in their family to even consider college, simply don’t realize that they are losing thousands of dollars in financial aid if they don’t complete the FAFSA form,” Gentile said. “That’s why we’re launching this special campaign and encouraging everyone to get involved. We want to keep the momentum of college building in Tennessee and the opportunities it brings for students and our state. We don’t want to leave anyone behind.”

Completion of the FAFSA application is closely linked to college enrollment: 92% of high school graduates who completed the FAFSA application enrolled by the November following graduation, according to the National College Attainment Network, compared to 51% of those who did not complete a FAFSA application.

THEC recently announced significant momentum in increasing the state’s college attendance rate, culminating in a 2.4 percentage point increase for the class of 2023 over the class of 2022.

The state’s college enrollment rate of 56.7% for the class of 2023 represents the largest year-over-year increase since the tuition-free Tennessee Promise scholarship was introduced in 2015.

The college attendance rate measures the percentage of Tennessee public high school graduates who seamlessly enroll in post-secondary education immediately after high school.

By Liam