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IPS launches program to help families complete FAFSA forms

IPS program helps families with FAFSA

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Public Schools is urging students to take advantage of its program to help high school seniors and their families complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

In the past, the FAFSA was optional. Now, it’s required for all Indiana high school seniors.

IPS says its FAFSA Family Filing Nights will “demystify the financial aid application process and ensure that every student has access to the resources needed to pursue their higher education dreams.”

FAFSA Family Filing Nights started earlier this month and will run through early April.

The FAFSA application deadline is April 15. However, FAFSA opened later than usual in December of 2023, partially because of the time it took the U.S. Department of Education to streamline the form.

Austin Dodd, school counseling educator and director of high school academies and pathways for IPS, joined News 8 on Daybreak to discuss how the series can help students. You can watch the full interview in the video above.

Dodd says it has been a tricky process thus far for families, and the events are helping.

“There’s a lot of anxiety. It’s been a bumpy start, to be honest, but we know that the earlier that we file, the sooner they can get this financial aid package, to really understand what it’s going to cost to go to college next year. Our priority is to hit the ground hard right now, so we can get as many filed as quickly as we can tell those families, and better understand what the next steps would be.”

IPS says that in the fall, 72.2% of students planned to pursue a 2- or 4-year college/university or trade program after graduation. Also, any IPS student with a 3.0 GPA is automatically admitted into IU-Indianapolis for free.

Families will need an FAFSA login ID to take part in the event. Click here to create an account.

IPS says students will also need a Social Security Number, along with their student or Alien Registration number if not a U.S. Citizen but an eligible non-citizen, 2022 federal income tax return, and W2s along with any other supporting documents.

Event schedule

Arsenal Tech High School Cafeteria:

  • Parent/student filing: Feb. 7, Feb. 21, March 6, March 20, April 3, April 10 (5-7 p.m.) 

 Crispus Attucks High School Cafeteria:

  • Parent filing:  Jan. 30 and Feb. 29   (5:30 -7 p.m.)
  • Parent filing:  March 22 (Parents In Touch Day) 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. 

George Washington High School Media Center:

  •  Parent filing: Feb. 5 and April 8 (5-7 p.m.) Hosted in the media center.

 Shortridge Future Center:

  • Parent/student filing: Jan. 23 (5-7 p.m.) 

IPS is also participating in College Goal Sunday, Indiana’s largest FAFSA filing event, from 2-4 p.m. on Feb. 25 at Arsenal Tech High School.

Students who attend College Goal Sunday and fill out the appropriate form will be eligible to win one of five $1,000 educational prizes from Indiana College Goal Sunday.

(WISH-TV Photo: Hanna Mordoh and Austin Dodd)