Fill out FAFSA early for best access to grants for college, mayor and others tell MPS seniors

February 13, 2024

FAFSA Reminder

We want everyone to complete the FAFSA and have the opportunity to make choices.

Vicki J. Martin, Ph.D. MATC President

Milwaukee Public School seniors should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, as soon as possible, said Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson and city educational leaders, including Milwaukee Area Technical College President Vicki J. Martin, Ph.D.

Leaders of M³ (M-Cubed), a partnership among MPS, MATC and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, joined Johnson on Monday, February 12, at Washington High School of Information Technology to remind students to fill out the FAFSA.

See TV coverage of event

The FAFSA shows students which grants and loans are available to pay for college. Colleges and universities use FAFSA information to build financial aid packages so students know how much college will cost. Students who apply early may have better access to grants and will be able to better plan for college. 

FAFSA has a new form this year that is shorter and easier to complete. Through the FAFSA Simplification Act, more Pell Grants will be available for students attending college in fall 2024. 

“For young people looking to go into higher education, the process can sometimes seem scary, and it can seem complicated. That’s really true for students who are among the first people in their family to go to college, like myself,” said Johnson, an MPS and University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate. “Fill out the FAFSA; make sure you do that. It opens up a world of possibilities.”

MATC’s Dr. Martin said many students think they can’t afford to go to college. “We want to change that,” she said. “We want everyone to complete (the FAFSA) and have the opportunity to make choices.”

MPS high school seniors are required to fill out the FAFSA to graduate. (Waivers are granted in certain cases.) Many students are unaware of the types of aid available for higher education until they fill out the FAFSA. 

In prior years, FAFSA opened nationwide in October. The U.S. Department of Education delayed the opening of the FAFSA this year because of the rollout of a streamlined and simplified form. 

UWM Chancellor Dr. Mark Mone noted that it takes less time now to fill out the FAFSA, and it's time well spent. 

“In this country, $3.6 billion has been left on the table because people do not complete their applications. In the state of Wisconsin every year, between $40 million and $50 million goes away that could have gone to you, could have gone to students, if they filled the FAFSA out,” Mone said. 

Kimora Jefferson, a 2023 graduate of the Milwaukee High School of the Arts, now studies criminal justice and business at Mount Mary College. "FAFSA is going to help you," she told the students. 

To fill out the FAFSA, students should visit Applicants are cautioned to use only this website and to avoid any websites that charge a fee. 

“Now is not a time to sit back and wait,” said MPS Superintendent Dr. Keith P. Posley. “It’s a time to act.”

About MATC: Wisconsin’s largest technical college and one of the most diverse two-year institutions in the Midwest, Milwaukee Area Technical College is a key driver of southeastern Wisconsin’s economy and has provided innovative education in the region since 1912. More than 30,000 students per year attend the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online. MATC offers affordable and accessible education and training opportunities that empower and transform lives in the community. The college offers more than 180 academic programs — many that prepare students for jobs immediately upon completion and others that provide transfer options leading to bachelor’s degrees with more than 40 four-year colleges and universities. Overwhelmingly, MATC graduates build careers and businesses in southeastern Wisconsin. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

About M³ (M-Cubed):  M³ seeks to transform the future of Milwaukee through education. Through collaboration, coordination and partnership, MPS, MATC, and UWM will increase the retention, graduation, and career success of our students and provide a prepared workforce and citizenry for the Wisconsin economy. M³ will also provide the education and resources to help drive an entrepreneurial mindset for all students to increase choices and opportunities for growth.