Thurgood Marshall College Fund kicks off campaign to aid FAFSA completion

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Washington, DC, July 10, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) began a campaign to help students complete the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The rollout of the Better FAFSA, which aims to simplify the intricate process of allowing students to apply for federal student aid such as grants, work-study funds, and loans, has created unintentional obstacles for students and postsecondary institutions since its release on Dec. 31. These obstacles have created negative impacts on the Black collegiate community and its institutions.

“Students at these institutions, graduating with $25,000 more in student loan debt than their white peers, are placed in an even more vulnerable position due to these delays,” Dr. Harry L. Williams, president and CEO of TMCF, said. “HBCUs are historically underfunded and these delays add to budget drafting challenges, potential errors in financial aid awarded to students, and institutions falling behind schedule with limited time and resources to catch up.”

As an advocate for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), predominantly Black institutions (PBIs) and historically Black community colleges (HBCCs) and their students, TMCF sought immediate solutions to these issues and pledged to assist its member schools and students. Made possible through funding from the ECMC Foundation, TMCF has developed a website, manages a peer-led call center, employs students from its member schools, and promotes and advertises FAFSA completion through a national campaign.

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The campaign will take place from June 24 to Aug. 31 in an effort to boost FAFSA completion rates. This multi-faceted approach will include a targeted ad campaign, a website with completion information and FAQs, informational webinars and office hours to provide guidance on the completion process, and the establishment of a call center with trained peer facilitators, who will connect directly with incoming and returning students (and their guardians) who have yet to complete the FAFSA. This initiative will provide employment for at least 54 students from member schools for 10 weeks and allow institutions additional resources for direct engagement to boost FAFSA completion.

“These additional efforts are critical, but it’s not enough to prevent further damage caused by the delayed process. TMCF and HBCU leaders continue to engage with the U.S. Department of Education to resolve these issues,” Williams said.

In addition to this campaign, TMCF officials are speaking out on a national level and urging government leaders to take steps to safeguard and support HBCUs and their students during the implementation of the Better FAFSA. Until all errors are fixed, TMCF takes the stance that the verification process to ensure student data is accurate should be suspended and institutions should not be held liable for any errors in awarding financial aid caused by the process.

For more information about this campaign to aid FAFSA completion, visit finishfafsa.com, email [email protected] or call (202) 937-2368.

About Thurgood Marshall College Fund
Established in 1987, Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. TMCF member schools include the publicly supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly Black Institutions, enrolling nearly 80% of all students attending black colleges and universities. Through scholarships, capacity building and research initiatives, innovative programs, and strategic partnerships, TMCF is a vital resource in the K-12 and higher education space. The organization is also the source of top employers seeking top talent for competitive internships and good jobs. TMCF is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, charitable organization. For more information about TMCF, visit www.tmcf.org.

CONTACT: Clara Ross Stamps The Thurgood Marshall College Fund 240-931-0696 [email protected] 

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