RIDE Announces High School Grant Opportunity to Support Summer 2024 FAFSA Completion

Published on Friday, July 05, 2024

PROVIDENCE, RI -- In alignment with Governor Dan McKee’s Learn365RI Initiative, Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green and the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) today announced a grant opportunity for high schools to support Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion over the summer. Through a nearly $100,000 award from the Educational Credit Management Corporation, every public Rhode Island high school is eligible to apply for a FAFSA Support Ambassador grant of $2,500. The funding will allow schools to hire a member of their staff, who will receive training to enhance their expertise in providing FAFSA ID set up and FAFSA and Alternative Aid completion support, particularly to multilingual and economically disadvantaged students.  

“Learning doesn’t stop over the summer, and neither do our efforts to support our students in filling out the FAFSA and preparing for their futures,” said Governor Dan McKee. “By providing ongoing support, we are committed to breaking down barriers and ensuring that every student has the opportunity to achieve their dreams.”  

“The FAFSA Support Ambassador grant program empowers schools to provide important application assistance during the summer months, helping students navigate the financial aid process and pave the way for their success in higher education,” said Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “We share our gratitude with the school counselors, educators, administrators, partner organizations and families for the unwavering commitment they have shown to our kids and encourage all high schools to apply.” 

The gateway to federal financial aid, grants, scholarships, and work-study opportunities, and a key metric in Governor McKee’s plan to meet or exceed Massachusetts’ education performance levels by 2030, the FAFSA remains available to students seeking financial aid for the 2024-2025 school year. According to Rhode Island’s FAFSA Dashboard, approximately 55% of the class of 2024 have completed the application, above the national completion rate of 45%.  

To reach Rhode Island’s goal of at least 70% completion rate before the beginning of the fall term, RIDE has increased efforts around FAFSA completion. With federal Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant funding, RIDE’s Office of College and Career Readiness onboarded four ambassadors for the 23-24 School Year to support the Individual Learning Plan (ILP), ILP Social Emotional Learning Scope and Sequence, and the FAFSA. The FAFSA Ambassadors are liaisons between RIDE, the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner, and the field, helping local education agencies with outreach and implementing the new FAFSA legislation that was passed. Further, Governor McKee’s Learn365RI grant program has provided funds to municipalities to develop partnerships and programs to increase FAFSA completion. 

Additionally, under the revised Rhode Island Readiness-Based Graduation Requirements beginning with the class of 2028, FAFSA and state aid completion data will be reported in Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) school report cards, and will be included in school accountability. This puts the onus on schools to support students in filling out the FAFSA and state aid forms to ensure all students get help in maximizing financial assistance. 

High schools interested in applying for the FAFSA Support Ambassador grant can find more information and application details here. The deadline to apply is July 15.