4 Ways Going Merry is Providing Effective FAFSA Help for Your High School Students

*This post is sponsored by Going Merry.

As a high school counselor, you’ve probably been sending transcripts and running senior meetings since school started. We’re now moving into the fall, and financial aid season is upon us! You’re now gearing up to push out tons of scholarship applications, host FAFSA help workshops, and invite guest speakers from local colleges’ financial aid offices.

It feels like your fall season is consumed with helping seniors apply for college, and you’re probably at the point now where you’re walking individual students through the steps of receiving financial aid and needing FAFSA help. As your students make their final revisions on their essays and hit submit on those dream college applications, financing college with scholarships and federal aid starts to make its way to the top of their to-do list. 

There has been plenty of talk lately on the accessibility and affordability of college or higher education, but the first step in figuring out where to get federal aid and how much federal aid they can get is filling out the FAFSA. If you want to prep your students and parents with some FAFSA help before they get started, here’s a free checklist I created for counselors to hand to families ahead of time.

Pro-tip for high school counselors: go ahead and create a free account on Going Merry! This platform is so easy to use! It will be an absolute game changer for the way that you help your students through the financial aid process. Once you register and poke around inside, you’ll see its two main components: a comprehensive scholarship search tool and the FAFSA® Made Easier tool

After you’ve created your account, you can pick a time for a live webinar demonstration to make sure you’re using all of the features that Going Merry has to offer school counselors. (I prefer this option because I hate spending lots of time reading directions… I love that someone will physically SHOW me what I need to be doing!)

I picked a time for a group Zoom meeting with the founder and creator of Going Merry then walked through all of the features and how to use them. (You can keep your mic and camera off and just watch if you prefer, or you can join in and ask live questions!)

From scholarships to FAFSA help, Going Merry helps high school counselors cover their bases during this season.

FAFSA® Made Easier by Going Merry is a 100% free tool to offer your students and parents to give FAFSA help and make the federal student aid process notably simple. 

When the FAFSA application is this easy to fill out, there’s no reason not to carve out a few minutes to do it.

Here are 3 things you need to know about FAFSA® Made Easier in order to provide the FAFSA help your students need and want!

fafsa help

1- FAFSA® Made Easier is FREE

Just like the first letter of the acronym mentions, it’s helpful to remind your students that the FAFSA is absolutely free. They should never be paying to fill out the FAFSA (scam alert!), and Going Merry is the same. You’ll never pay for this free tool as a counselor, student, or parent. (That still feels too good to be true to me… but, I assure you, it’s not!)

Of course, you can also keep exploring the regular Going Merry portal (you have to sign up and log into your free account to see this) where you’ll find student and counselor tutorials, classroom lesson plans, and valuable checklists for financial aid and FAFSA help.

You can feel confident that you’re providing free, quality resources to your students. This levels the playing field for all students wanting to access higher education!

2- FAFSA® Made Easier translates the FAFSA into an easy-to-understand, common language

I have found that students and parents get extremely overwhelmed before they even start the FAFSA because they’re nervous they won’t know the answers to the questions. It is truly an intimidating process if they don’t know what to expect!

Going Merry acts as a “translator” of that financial jargon into more common, everyday wording. I love that it lets its users skip around and come back to questions later while saving the progress (auto-save for the win!) that they’re dedicating their precious time to as they map out their financial futures. 

I’m obsessed with the way it breaks down the questions. With one question per screen, even the visual appeal of filling out the FAFSA is made easier. This small, visual change eliminates overwhelm for both parents and students. Just one question at a time and FAFSA help around every corner.

Another feature worth mentioning in terms of the visual appeal… I love the progress circle that shows how far along the student is in completing their FAFSA. That percent completion can be very motivating to get it done! It also shows the sections of the form so that they can skip around or choose their order for what questions they want to complete and when they want to complete them. Talk about “user-friendly!”

As high school counselors, we are constantly seeing students’ stress levels rising through the roof year after year… applying for financial aid does not need to be a contributor to that anymore!

3- FAFSA® Made Easier syncs with the official FAFSA

Once your students have an account on Going Merry and their FSA ID in hand, the financial aid process is seamless. Inside their account, they’ll find budgeting insights and financial aid comparison tools. With the information from their Going Merry profile, part of their FAFSA is automatically filled out.

Once a student has used the FAFSA Made Easier tool to complete their FAFSA, they do NOT have to ALSO fill out the actual FAFSA government form- how cool is that?! (They do, however, still need to head over to the official government website to “sign” the final form… but the FAFSA help tool guides families through that, too.)

If students are filling out the FAFSA and are running into questions that still need to be answered, they can chat or email Going Merry’s help center, search through FAQs right inside their Going Merry account, or check the “FAFSA Help” page on the central government website.

4- FAFSA® Made Easier gives FAFSA help to school counselors, too

We’re trying every day to be data-driven high school counselors, right? Let Going Merry’s FAFSA tool do that work for you. 

You’ll get summary statistics for your whole school, and you can also track individual student progress to see if they’ve started or completed the FAFSA application. You can even drill down to see which specific questions students have or haven’t answered!

I know this FAFSA completion data collection is important in certain states, I know that this is invaluable for reports that you may need to submit to your district or state.

I’m so impressed with this free FAFSA Made Easy add-on that Going Merry offers to our high school students, and I want you to create your free counselor account today to experience it for yourself! Your students and families will thank you later for all of the FAFSA help you provided through this resource!

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