<< All News Monday, April 22, 2024 - 09:00 am

Gov. Doug Burgum has issued a proclamation this week declaring April 21-27 as Finish the FAFSA Week in North Dakota. Along with the North Dakota University System (NDUS), Bank of North Dakota (BND), North Dakota Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NDASFAA) and Department of Public Instruction (DPI), Burgum is urging all high school seniors and their families to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2024-25 academic year. 

North Dakota is down more than 25% in completed FAFSA submissions from this same time last year, which could be due in part to the challenges and delays with the new FAFSA launch this year. The goal of the proclamation is to highlight financial aid possibilities for students who have not yet applied.

“Higher education should be affordable and accessible to all those who choose to pursue it. Far too often, North Dakota students don’t realize the full scope of financial aid available to them to help pay for college, graduate school and career training programs,” Burgum said. “A strong workforce is crucial to our state’s economy and the wellness of our communities, as well as having fulfilling jobs to help retain students in our state when they graduate. Filling out the FAFSA gives students and families a plan and a path to find the best way to fulfill individual career goals.”

Schools and partners are offering extended hours April 22-25 to help with questions about the FAFSA. North Dakota’s proclamation encourages high school counselors, principals, superintendents, after-school programs, parent groups, nonprofit organizations, and local and state education organizations to assist students and families in completing the FAFSA as the first step toward achieving college and career aspirations. Additionally, BND has a webpage containing all of the information on Finish the FAFSA Week with tools and resources that help assist in the process

“I empathize with the students and families affected by this year’s FAFSA delays, and in addition, I want to emphasize that it is never too late to access financial aid and make your postsecondary journey affordable,” NDUS Chancellor Mark Hagerott said. “Many of our North Dakota institutions are extending their enrollment deadlines to make sure students receive the financial aid for which they qualify.” 

Data shows that students who submit the FAFSA are more likely to enroll in a postsecondary program, persist in their studies and earn a degree or credential. According to the National College Attainment Network, through April 5, FAFSA submissions by high school seniors are down nearly 40% nationally, and North Dakota ranks 35th in the nation for percentage of seniors completing the form. 

In conjunction with the proclamation, BND recorded a public service announcement to emphasize the urgency of 2024-25 FAFSA completion. BND also has resources available for students, families and educators designed to help students and increase FAFSA completion rates. A free webinar regarding the FAFSA is happening during Finish the FAFSA Week from 7 to 8 p.m. CT Tuesday, April 23. The webinar allows attendees to ask questions and provides assistance in filling out the FAFSA and can be accessed here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/4045655671868452694

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