A group in Tulsa is pushing more Oklahoma high school seniors to fill out their FAFSA forms, which helps them get federal grants and most scholarships for college.
The group, Impact Tulsa, said it wants to help Oklahoma students and families save money on college.
2/2/2017 Related Story: Group Urging Tulsa Students To Apply For College Financial Aid
Union high school senior Te'a Williams is one of the students that has filled out her FAFSA; she said she’s excited about her future.
“It just brings joy to my life that I’m able to go,” she said. "It's given me a relief because I know that I am able to afford college because of FAFSA."
Like many other local seniors with college on their minds, FAFSA has become a needed asset.
Senior Faith Nichols said, "The free application for federal student aid, it's a form that you fill out when you are a senior in high school."
The form gives out free money through work studies, scholarships and grants.
"It's free money, and, you know, who wouldn't want free money," Williams said.
Impact Tulsa - a community group with a goal of improving student achievement outcomes - said in 2016, Tulsa students had access to $20 million in financial aid - needed money for some.
Nichols said, "I wouldn't be able to go to the colleges that I want to at the price that is applicable for me without filling out FAFSA."
In 2015, the institute for college access and success said students graduated with an average of more than $30,000 in student debt.
"College is expensive, and that kind of holds back students for what their potential is in life," said Williams
The most recent numbers show, on average, students that apply get nearly $2,000 in free money.
Nichols said, "You never know how much money, and how much scholarship money you could get from the government."
But students are hoping for the best; by mid-February, more than 1,000 seniors from 14 local high schools had completed their FAFSA compared to last year.
"It gives them the opportunity to have the education that they dream of,” Williams said.
Have questions about FAFSA? We have FAFSA phone bank going on until 6:30 p.m.
To have your questions answered, you can call 918-732-6166.