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Governor Says Michigan Students Are Leaving College Money On The Table

Sehvilla Mann

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, more commonly known as the FAFSA, is a critical form for anyone who wants help paying for higher education. But Governor Gretchen Whitmer says Michigan’s FAFSA completion rate was only about 56 percent last year.

Whitmer is promoting an effort to boost that to 75 percent in 2020.

At Battle Creek Central High School Monday, Whitmer sat in a circle with students, urging them to pursue an education even if they don't know what they want to be yet. She encouraged them not to skip the FAFSA, which helps students receive not only federal student loans but grants. 

Whitmer says Michigan students who didn't complete the FAFSA last year missed out on a lot of financial aid.

“Right now - we’re leaving about $100 million on the table last year. This is money that’s standing between kids and getting a degree,” Whitmer said.

Whitmer is urging school to aggressively promote the "FAFSA Challenge," an effort to boost the application completion rate.

“In the budget unfortunately I’m not going to be, I don’t think, putting monetary incentives, but we do have other incentives built in. This is a contest and we’re hoping that we can boost our percentage of applications,” she added.

Whitmer says she expects about 500 schools to take part in the friendly competition.

Sehvilla Mann joined WMUK’s news team in January 2014 as a reporter on the local government and education beats. Before that she covered a variety of topics, including environmental issues, for Bloomington, Indiana NPR and PBS affiliates WFIU and WTIU. She’s also written and produced stories for the Pacifica Network and WYSO Public Radio in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Sehvilla holds a B.A. in French from Earlham College and an M.A. in journalism from Indiana University.
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