The pandemic has created a lot of financial uncertainty for many families.
Now, more than ever, completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as possible is crucial for all high school seniors because some of the aid is available on a first-come, first-served basis. And there’s now an extra financial incentive to apply early.
$1 million each year will go to students who complete the FAFSA through the College Board Opportunity Scholarships. Completing the FAFSA is one of six steps in the program and gives students a chance at a $1,000 scholarship.
Each step helps keep students on track as they navigate their way through the confusing college application process. The key steps are:
- Build a college list
- Practice for the SAT
- Improve SAT scores
- Strengthen your college list
- Complete the FAFSA
- Apply to colleges
“They wanted a simple guide or a road map that shares what to do and also when to do it, and so this program is designed to clarify that path to college and encourage all students to stay on it,” said Lacey Allen, Associate Director of Scholarships Strategy at the College Board. “Encouraging students to apply early will ensure they will qualify for all the financial aid they’re eligible for no matter what they decide to do.”
Completing each of the six steps will earn students a chance for a scholarship ranging from $500 to $2,000. Completing five steps will earn them a chance for $40,000 for their college education.
Three of the steps have already closed, so it’s too late for students in the class of 2021 who have not started the process to qualify for the $40,000. But scholarships are still available for applying to college, improving your SAT scores and completing your FAFSA.
The College Board Opportunity Scholarship program will be open to students in the class of 2022 starting in December 2020. So those students need to sign up early to make sure they have a shot at that $40,000 prize.