To increase the completion rate of critical college financial aid forms, particularly from high school seniors in historically underrepresented urban schools, the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) and its College Planning Center today launched a comprehensive grassroots campaign aimed at getting more financial aid to students interested in attending college.
According to Charles Kelley, Executive Director of RISLA, the goal of the campaign is to increase the completion rate of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which is the gateway to free federal and college grants and federal loans. “While Rhode Island’s FAFSA completion rate was ranked 8th highest in the country last year, Governor Raimondo has challenged Rhode Island to do even better. To accomplish that, RISLA has developed a campaign that provides students with the tools they need to complete the forms in as easy and hassle-free way as possible, and even provides them one-on-one support in both English and Spanish.”
The broad-based campaign “It’s FAFSAszn” features real Rhode Island high school students in its social media ads and videos and utilizes texting as a means for them to receive help on RISLA’s web site; https://www.risla.com/fafsaszn. A key component of the campaign is the use of teens talking and texting with their peers to encourage completion of these important financial aid forms. “In addition to efforts by teachers, school counselors, and the College Planning Center communicating the importance of filling out the FAFSA, we have identified student interns in key high schools to help us have that conversation with their friends and peers, and use their own social media channels to talk about the array of tools at their disposal,” explained Stacy Crooks, Director of the RISLA College Planning Center.
She continued, “To further encourage FAFSA completion, we will hold a drawing at the end of February for a free pair of AirPods. Anyone who has completed their FAFSA during the month of February is eligible to participate in the drawing by simply texting the word “done” to our designated text number, 24000.”
- “How to videos” in Spanish and English which can be found on the RISLA web site at risla.com/fafsaszn or by texting the word FAFSA to 24000;
- A FAFSA hotline (401-468-1703) will manned daily from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm Monday through Friday during the month of February;
- Bus Shelter ads have been placed throughout the state during the month of February which feature Rhode Island high school students from Alvarez and Classical High Schools in Providence, and from the group Young Voices in Central Falls;
- Radio ads in Spanish;
- Social media ads and posts in English and Spanish;
- Social media high school student interns assembled from urban high schools throughout the State who will compete for prizes by signing up friends and peers.