A significant change is on the way for students applying for need-based scholarships and grants made available by the Kentucky Lottery, affecting how tens of millions of dollars will be distributed.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form that every Kentucky student must submit in order to be eligible for any need-based financial aid. This includes the need-based scholarship and grant programs administered by the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) and funded by Kentucky Lottery proceeds.
In the 2015-2016 school year, these need-based funds totaled $98,846,296 and were distributed to 49,579 students via grants and scholarships in Kentucky. When combined with the merit-based programs available, Kentucky Lottery proceeds in total provided $209,495,617 in scholarships and grants distributed to 95,600 students across the Commonwealth.
This upcoming change only affects those need-based grants and scholarships. For years, the FASFA could be submitted starting January 1. However, a change at the federal level now has the application period beginning October 1. While this isn’t the deadline to apply, it is the first date on which a student can submit an application. This is key, as the lottery money provided for these programs is made available on a first-come, first-served basis.
“The October 1 date is beneficial for students and families in two ways. First, it coincides with the time of year when college applications are due,” said Dr. Carl Rollins, KHEAA’s Executive Director. “The new date also allows for better timing regarding the tax information you must provide. For the 2017-2018 school year, you will provide your 2015 tax information.”
The two need-based programs affected are:
- The College Access Program, or CAP. This program provides up to $1900 annually for undergraduate students to attend eligible public and private colleges and universities, proprietary schools and technical colleges.
- The Kentucky Tuition Grants Program, or KTG. These grants provide up to $3000 annually for aid to help Kentucky residents attend in-state eligible private colleges.
The change will not affect the KEES scholarship program, as this initiative automatically allows dollars earned by students in high school based on their GPA and test scores to follow them to a Kentucky college.
Students and their parents are strongly encourage to now visit https://fsaid.ed.gov to set up separate user names and passwords. This can be done prior to the October 1st date, and officials say completing this step before that date will make the application process go more smoothly.
Then, to submit the FASFA starting October 1, parents and students can go to https://fafsa.ed.gov/. Students will need to provide (both for themselves and their parents) Social Security numbers, driver's licenses, federal tax returns, W-2 forms, and current bank and investment statements.
“When the General Assembly made the historic change of moving lottery proceeds into college scholarship and grant programs, they did so to keep our students right here at home to attend college, with the hope they’ll stay in Kentucky after graduation,” said the Kentucky Lottery’s Chief Operating Officer Marty Gibbs. “Our state’s Jeff Green Scholars – students with a 4.0 GPA and high college placement exam scores –are highly recruited by some of our nation’s best colleges and universities. Three out of four of them are now choosing to stay in the Commonwealth to attend college. That’s a win for all of us.”
Lottery proceeds in Kentucky provide 95 cents of every dollar of non-loan college student aid awarded by the Commonwealth, with more than $2.7 billion going to these programs from 1999 through 2015.