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Transition From High School: FAFSA Chapters

Download the FAFSA chapters of RaiseMe’s “Paving Paths to College” for guiding students and family through application completion.

FAFSA Resources for your Classroom

On October 1st, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) officially opened for the 2020-2021 school year. If you’re like thousands of other parents and educators across the country, helping your student(s) understand the importance of the FAFSA — while also supporting them to collect the right documentation and sort through myths about it — can feel a little overwhelming at times. But RaiseMe’s got your back! We know completing these milestones really does take a village, so we’ve prepared lesson plans to help you get moving in the right direction. These lesson plans will help students breakdown the key information needed to understand the FAFSA, what it is, when to apply, and what materials are needed to fill it out. 

First, if time permits, have students read our blog post “5 Things You Need to Know About FAFSA.” This will give them a solid, introductory baseline for the lessons below. Then proceed below to lesson plans one and two. 

Lesson Plan 1: The FAFSA Application

Page 122 of Paving Paths to College: A RaiseMe Curriculum Book

Learning Objectives:

  • Seniors will begin to narrow down the list of colleges where they will apply. 
  • Students will describe why completing the FAFSA is important. 
  • Students will be able to recite the information they need to complete, and their parent to gather, prior to its completion.

Key Points:

  1. Narrow down your list of colleges early by carefully considering what institution is the right college for you as an individual.
  2. Completing the FAFSA is the gatekeeper not only for federal financial aid, but state and institutional aid as well.
  3. Gather the necessary information and complete the FAFSA early so that you can earn the largest possible amount of financial aid.
  4. You’ll need to complete the FAFSA every year that you plan to attend college.
  5. There are a ton of common mistakes that people make when trying to fill out the FAFSA — don’t make those mistakes!


Lesson Plan 2: Navigating FAFSA & Federal Aid

Page 129 of Paving Paths to College: A RaiseMe Curriculum Book

Learning Objective:

  • Students will describe why completing the FAFSA is important. 
  • Students will define the difference between grants and loans as well as interpret data to describe the financial considerations to weigh when applying to colleges. 

Key Points:

  1. Completing the FAFSA is the gatekeeper not only for federal financial aid, but state and institutional aid as well.
  2. A grant is gift money; it does not need to be paid back.
  3. A loan is money that needs to be paid back.
  4. Interest rates affect how much you will have to pay back on a loan.
  5. The cost of attending college includes tuition, room and board, and out of pocket expenses.
  6. The cost of attendance minus financial aid equals the amount a student and their family will pay each year of college. (cost of attendance – financial aid = $ family will pay)
  7. First year retention and graduation rates indicate how many students progress through college and successfully earn a degree.
  8. Future salary and outcomes data for a college’s graduates gives you an indication of the career and financial trajectory you might expect if you graduate from that college

Resources for supporting undocumented and / or migrant students:


Introducing Paving Paths to College: A Curriculum Book by RaiseMe

RaiseMe created an academic year’s worth of lesson plan content for educators, designed to thoughtfully engage high school students of all ages in college readiness activities and build stronger college-going culture in schools. Help put students on the right path towards taking control of their college-going futures by exploring some of our other lesson plans on understanding financial aid, college discovery, and more by downloading the free curriculum guide here.

Have questions or feedback for us, or want to contribute a lesson plan idea or content to our library? Reach out and let us know: hello@raise.me. To invite students to begin earning micro-scholarships for their academic and extracurricular achievements on RaiseMe, sign into your RaiseMe Educator Portal here

Thea started her career at RaiseMe on the educator partnerships team and currently leads customer research and engagement. Prior, Thea taught reading in New Orleans and Boston public schools. For fun, Thea loves to get outdoors and spend time with her rescue pup Ro.

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