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Resources for Completing the FAFSA

The US Department of Education Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) connects students with more than $150 billion in federal student aid each year. By completing the FAFSA, students may be eligible to access some of these funds for their education.

“Filling out the FAFSA online was surprisingly easy and quick. Most of our family income categories were automated by connecting to the IRS website, so it really didn’t take long at all.” said Will, father of a college-bound high school senior. 

Because the task of applying for financial aid can seem daunting for students, ACT recommends sharing the following resources to help make the process easier:

Steps2College

Steps2College.org is a new, one-stop resource to support students through the college-going process. Steps2College is encouraging students to join Form Your Future, a national campaign organized by National College Access Network (NCAN), that works to help students get money for college, no matter what. Through social media and online toolkits, the campaign shows students their great odds of getting financial aid when they file the FAFSA, and supports the professionals who help them do so. 

Financial Aid eBook

Featuring simple explanations, checklists, and a cost comparison worksheet, students are walked through the process of finding financial aid, applying for assistance, and choosing the college that best fits their goals and budget. The right tools and resources can make paying for college much simpler.

Share these resources with parents and students to help them maximize their financial support for college. 

New Tools for Communicating with Parents and Students

You understand better than most that high school can sometimes be overwhelming for your students and many struggle with knowing how and when to prepare for college while simultaneously trying to survive the busyness of high school. 

To help your students navigate this complex time in their life and give them this timely suite of resources for college readiness. Organized by graduation year, students can review recommended activities they should be doing now to stay on the path to future success. 

This suite of resources contains:

  • Future planning checklists
  • Programs that help students broaden their college search
  • Cost comparison and campus visit worksheets
  • Scholarship information
  • Test prep comparisons  

Counselor Toolkit for Communicating with Students and Parents

Effective communication with students and parents about the importance of college and career readiness is a critical component of preparing them for success after high school. ACT has prepared a variety of communication tools for you to use to make this task easier. 

Many counselors used these tools at their fall open houses. They are also great resources to pass along at Parent Teacher Conferences, college and career fairs, school newsletters, and advisory sessions.

These toolkits include:

  • Email communications to be used throughout the school year
  • Engaging social media images for sharing from your school’s accounts
  • PowerPoint slides related to the ACT® test, using data on college readiness benchmarks, and how parents can help prepare students for the ACT
  • Student-focused digital resources such as eBooks, infographics, and videos 

Support for English Learners on the ACT Test

English learner (EL) supports are now available on the ACT® test to U.S. students. The goal of the supports is to help ensure that the ACT scores earned by English learners accurately reflect what they have learned in school.

EL supports are limited to students in a local school district’s EL program who meet the current definitions of an English learner under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Students must apply for the English learner supports through their high school counselors’ office.

Qualifying students who receive the supports will earn college-reportable ACT scores.

The supports for qualified English learners will include the following:

  • Additional time on the test (not to exceed time-and-a-half)
  • Use of an approved word-to-word bilingual glossary (containing no word definitions)
  • Test instructions provided in the student’s native language (including Spanish and a limited number of other languages initially)
  • Testing in a non-distracting environment (i.e., in a separate room) 

“We believe these solutions will help ensure that English learners have an equal opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned in school, leveling the playing field while not giving the students any special advantages,” said ACT Chief Commercial Officer Suzana Delanghe. “This change is about improving access and equity for students whose proficiency in English might prevent them from truly demonstrating the skills and knowledge they have learned.”

ACT is committed to improving access and opportunity for underserved learners. Of critical importance to ACT is ensuring that the scores earned by English learners using these supports are valid and reliable for postsecondary use. ACT has developed a full research agenda in support of the validity of scores earned by students using the supports based on actual test results.  

Events
 

College and Career Readiness Webinars

Preparing Students for Success: A Holistic Approach

  • Tuesday, Nov 14
  • Wednesday, Nov 15
  • Tuesday, Nov 28
  • Wednesday, Nov 29

Gain Test Day Confidence with AOP Practice Tests 

ACT Online Prep

The ACT is on December 9. Don’t let test anxiety slow your students down!

Thousands of students are gaining confidence on test day by taking the ACT Online Prep practice exams. The practice exams are built by the same people that built the ACT test. 

Give your students the edge

  • Two full-length practice tests to simulate the exam
  • Predicted ACT scores based on the results of practice exams
  • Daily goals to help students stay focused