FAFSA | Nashville Public Radio


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A higher percentage of high school seniors from Tennessee have filled out their federal financial aid forms for college than from any other state. 

It's a familiar refrain for state higher education officials: Tennessee has led the nation ever since Tennessee Promise went into effect in 2015, requiring students to fill out the financial aid form to stay eligible for free community or technical college. But the attention paid to filing rates — just one step in a long process of getting students into college — shows its importance as an indicator of how many students will end up continuing their education.

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In the hopes of seeing more students go to college, Tennessee education officials are pushing high school seniors to fill out federal financial aid forms earlier than ever before. 

Emily Siner / WPLN

Note: This story has been updated to clarify the mentors' role last year.

In the state's second year of offering free community college to graduating high school seniors, it's changing the way it's helping students apply for financial aid.

Volunteer community members, known as mentors, will no longer be helping Tennessee Promise students navigate the complex form known as FAFSA. Reminding students about FAFSA deadlines and directing them to workshops had been some of the mentors' main tasks.