MOHELA Empowers Missouri Students with Mission-Mini Grants to Boost FAFSA Completion


In the past decade, the financial aid system for higher education has been increasingly complicated, specifically by new FAFSA guidelines. MSLF, a part of MOHELA, accepted this challenge by awarding critical funding with its Mission-Mini Grants program to help in successfully funding events around the community in an effort to increase FAFSA completion in Missouri. More than $88,600 has been awarded through these grants.

MOHELA Empowers Missouri Students with Mission-Mini Grants to Boost FAFSA Completion

(Photo : PEXELS / Andrea Piacquadio)

Impact of the Mission-Mini Grants

Through its Mission-Mini grants, MSLF continues to increase FAFSA completion rates across the state of Missouri by funding more than 110 community events in 70 counties. The fund enables local colleges, universities, high schools, and not-for-profits to hold information sessions and workshops designed to equip students, families, and educators with the resources and expertise needed to navigate the difficulties of submitting the FAFSA application.

According to Melissa Findley, Executive Director of MSLF, "Our Mission-Mini Grants provide essential dollars to ensure that Missouri students are knowledgeable about changes to the FAFSA." Indeed, it is not only about educating these students about the new changes; rather, it also empowers them to access critical financial assistance provided through the U.S. Department of Education through federal grants, scholarships, and loans.

READ MORE: Student Loan Reporting Glitch Doubles Debt On Credit Reports, Impacts Millions 

Addressing Challenges in FAFSA Rollout

The FAFSA for the academic year 2024-2025 faced unexpected delays and technical issues. This impacted applicants statewide. Scott Giles, MOHELA's CEO, emphasized that "FAFSA completion is one of the most crucial steps in obtaining college funding." Despite these difficulties around completing FAFSA, MSLF remains firmly committed to providing critical assistance to communities as they navigate through these complexities.

Achievements and Future Directions

Since 2010, MSLF has been a leading force in promoting access to higher education for Missouri families. In the last five years alone, the Foundation has provided students with $17.5 million in scholarships and grants, alongside $24.2 million in interest-free loans. Furthermore, in the 2023-2024 academic year, statewide scholarship programs like Access Missouri and Bright Flight will be fringe-funded by $6 million from MOHELA.

Looking ahead, MSLF continues to play a huge role in raising Missouri's educational landscape, helping students in the pursuit of their academic ambitions. More initiatives and strategic linkages are taken up by MSLF to boost FAFSA completion rates further so that each eligible student in the state can tap into the required financial aid toward attaining higher education goals.

The Missouri Scholarship & Loan Foundation represents MOHELA's huge shining rays of hope that students have while going through the rigors involved in financing higher education. With such innovative programs as the Mission-Mini Grants, the MSLF does much more than furnish short-term solutions to problems; it paves the way for success in education for the long haul in the future throughout Missouri. Through a shifting financial aid landscape, MSLF has remained true to a very informed and empowered student community, driving higher FAFSA completion rates to ensure fair access to educational opportunities statewide.

MOHELA proactively joining MSLF underscores its commitment to serving Missouri's student population by providing educational support infrastructure in the state. Through MSLF, MOHELA has been able to extend its influence on students' and families' lives all over Missouri in the pursuit of an accessible and more equitable system of higher education by funding initiatives that support FAFSA completion and increasing financial literacy for all.

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