A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Changes to Federal student aid application sparks new public awareness campaign by CPE, KHEAA

As Kentucky students and their families anxiously await the debut of the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, two Kentucky higher education organizations have partnered to get the word out about the changes for the 2024-25 school year.

GEAR UP Kentucky, a unit of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), and the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) will be conducting a public service awareness campaign to prepare students for new FAFSA form and processes that will launch on Dec. 31.

Changes include a shorter and simpler form, a new eligibility formula for Pell Grants and a studentaid.gov dashboard to help students understand next steps; all of which are intended to allow more students to access the financial aid they need to attend college.

“Our first-generation students are often overwhelmed by the financial aid application process, and these changes, while all positive, will be adding to that confusion for a while,” said CPE President Aaron Thompson. “Our goal with this campaign is to get students the resources they need to improve FAFSA completion rates and college affordability overall.”

In 2022, Kentucky’s graduating seniors left nearly $54 million in available Pell grants unclaimed. Completion of the FAFSA is necessary to access most sources of federal, state and institutional financial aid.

“About half of Kentucky’s high school seniors are considered economically disadvantaged,” said KHEAA Executive Director Jo Carole Ellis. “FAFSA awareness and completion are powerful tools to make college dreams a reality for these students. FAFSA completion support has always been central to KHEAA’s outreach efforts, and we are pleased to work together with CPE in this important effort.”

The promotion will include TV and radio commercials running across the state via the Kentucky Broadcasters Association Public Education Partnership program, a social media campaign and an online resource hub for students.

“We felt it crucial to partner with KHEAA to maximize impact,” said Kim Welch, executive director of GEAR UP Kentucky. “Both of our agencies want students and their families to know they aren’t alone in navigating the often-difficult transition to college. There are people across the Commonwealth ready to help students and their families complete the FAFSA and get the money they’re due – and we’re committed to ensuring they know where to get that assistance.”

To view GEAR UP Kentucky’s FAFSA resource page, visit gearupky.org.

Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

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