The Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA), which provides students with access to federal grants and loans for college, became available on Oct. 1. More than 238,000 students applied online during that first day, but for those who procrastinated there’s a big perk to complete it now.
RaiseMe, a site that offers incremental micro-scholarships to college-bound high school students, is partnering with colleges to offer eligible seniors up to $4,000 just for filling out the FAFSA.
“We know that students who fill out the FAFSA have an 85% chance of receiving some sort of aid, and so we’re proud to join the broader movement to incentivize FAFSA completion, foster better financial literacy among high school students, and to help students put their best foot forward when preparing for college,” said Preston Silverman, RaiseMe CEO and co-founder.
Of the 22 participating colleges, Madonna University in Livonia, Mich., is the only school offering a $4,000 micro-scholarship. The remaining schools will award students between $100 and $400. To apply, students simply sign up on RaiseMe and find the FAFSA offer underneath the “Scholarships” tab. While students earn the micro-scholarships during high school, they only receive the money once they apply and are accepted into a specific university.
RaiseMe currently offers micro-scholarships for everything from earning an A in school, to volunteering. It recently added the FAFSA micro-scholarship because an impressive number of students simply choose not to fill it out. According to a Nerdwallet study, of the 85% students eligible for aid, only 45% complete the FAFSA annually.
In fall 2017, freshmen gave up $2.3 billion in financial aid. Nerdwallet found this number by comparing the number of high school graduates who didn’t complete the FAFSA to those who would have been eligible for a Pell grant. Pell grants are awarded to low income families and do not have to be repaid. Last year, each pell-eligible graduate left $3,583 on the table by not filling out their FAFSA.
“We’re excited to provide a platform for colleges to give prospective applicants an extra push to claim federal financial aid that might otherwise be left on the table,” said Silverman.
While not all of the schools offer a massive micro-scholarship, getting paid for doing something you already planned to do is still pretty nice. Here is a list of participating schools:
Florida Atlantic University, West Virginia University, University of Pittsburgh, Tusculum College, University of Massachusetts, Lowell University of Kentucky, University of Idaho, Mount Holyoke College, Grinnell College, University of Kentucky, University of Richmond, Kenyon College,, University of Mount Olive, Notre Dame de Namur University, University of Findlay, Grand View University, Florida Southern College, Wayne State University, Lawrence Technological University, Valparaiso University, and Cornell College.
Brittany is a reporter at Yahoo Finance.