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LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Treasury announced this morning that the state will be extending the priority deadline for Michigan students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Submissions received at the federal processor on or before May 1 — rather than the original March 1 state deadline — will be given priority consideration for the Michigan Competitive Scholarship and Michigan Tuition Grant. Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) and The Institute for College Access & Success advocated for this change to give students and families more time to complete this application, and MCAN applauds Treasury for providing this extension.

“With all the disruptions and challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has caused for our schools, it’s crucial that we give students and families more time to complete the FAFSA and maintain full eligibility for state financial aid,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, executive director of MCAN. “We’re grateful for the leadership of Robin Lott and Diann Cosme at Treasury for taking steps to help students in these uncertain times.”

As of March 12, the FAFSA completion rate for this year’s seniors was 43.6%, down from 51.8% the same time last year. This does not bode well for Michigan’s college and universities, who are already reeling from significant enrollment losses last fall.

“We had a leaky high school-to-college pipeline before the pandemic, and COVID-19 took a hammer to it,” said Fewins-Bliss, “This extension gives us time to make a big push to get our seniors back on track to go to college and improve their economic opportunities in a post-pandemic Michigan.”

The FAFSA is required to access federal Pell Grants, as well as most institutional and community-based financial aid, and completing the FAFSA can change family perceptions of college affordability. Ninety percent (90%) of high school seniors who complete the FAFSA immediately enroll in postsecondary education programs, and low-income seniors who complete the FAFSA are 127% more likely to enroll in postsecondary education directly after high school, compared to peers who do not complete the form.

Students can learn more and complete the FAFSA at fafsa.gov.