By Terry Rogers
Milford High School has partnered with the $tand By Me program through the Delaware Higher Education Office in an effort to help high school seniors create a funding strategy to pay for college. The program assists students and parents financially through many different programs.
“The main help that Milford students get from the program is help with the FAFSA,” Shawn Snyder, Principal of Milford High School, said. “A lot of parents struggle to get through the FAFSA, but coaches from $tand By Me are experts in the subject and are always a big help to our parents.” Students do not have to apply for assistance but simply meet with coaches when they are at the school throughout the year. The program is offered to all Milford High School students.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is a federal form that must be completed by students in order to qualify for financial aid. The FAFSA can be confusing and many parents say that the form is difficult to complete. According to experts, the FAFSA is often more difficult for low-income students to complete and this leads many of them to not fill the form out at all. Without the FAFSA, students are not eligible for financial assistance at almost every college or university. In fact, statistics show that about 14 percent of low-income families did not know how to complete the FAFSA and another nine percent said they did not apply because the forms were too complicated and difficult to complete.
The form can be completed electronically but it is also available in paper form. It has 110 questions and supplementary worksheets. The electronic version of the form automatically skips to parts of the form depending on answers given, making it easier to complete, but it still can take almost an hour to complete.
“The main help we receive from the program is assistance with the FAFSA,” Mr. Snyder said. “However, the program also offers other resources such as workshops for seniors on what to expect as they go through the process of applying and figuring out how to pay for college. We combine our senior and junior presentation in the fall with $tand By Me to allow parents to hear it form someone outside of the school environment as well as from us. We are working with $tand By Me to help 100 percent of our students complete the FAFSA, but at this time we have had about 75 students take advantage of their services in some form.”
More information about the $tand By Me program is available at their website, http://standybmede.org.
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