OKLAHOMA CITY -- State Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa, filed an interim study request last week to better understand the state’s outreach efforts regarding the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Provenzano hopes to examine the overall importance of the FAFSA process as well as the progress Oklahoma has made at increasing the number of students who complete the application.
“Many Oklahoma students wouldn’t be able to attend college if not for financial aid,” Provenzano said. “However, they can’t receive financial aid until they fill out a FAFSA. The importance of this form to an Oklahoma student’s future cannot be overstated. It is not without its hurdles, and we must do everything we can to ensure no student who wishes to go to college falls through the cracks on this one. We must dig into the roadblocks that prevent a student from applying. That’s what this study is about.”
With so many financial barriers to higher education, the FAFSA and the potential aid it represents can be a lifeline to students trying to lift themselves out of poverty.
“The FAFSA is a gateway to financial aid for college,” said Jennifer Sack, a high school counselor at Booker T. Washington. “The first thing the FAFSA determines is whether the student qualifies for financial aid. But even if you don’t qualify for federal money, the FAFSA is what colleges use to determine what type of aid they can award a student. Even some private scholarships require proof that a FAFSA has been filed.”
Interim studies are approved by the Speaker of the House. A decision on the FAFSA study and other interim study requests is expected by July 25.
“The more Oklahoma students that fill out the FAFSA the better it is for our state,” Provenzano said. “Our state schools, especially community and junior colleges, benefit by having more students able to attend, but the biggest blessing is that those additional students will have an opportunity to earn a college degree, which we all know can be life-changing.”
State Rep. Melissa Provenzano’s office can be reached by phone (405) 557-7330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.