FAFSA: Mom describes this crucial step on the path to college

October 31, 2019

With dreams of college for her children, MPS mom Andrea Adkins (right) with Dr. Keith Posley (left), shares her story of how the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) helped make those dreams come true. – Photo Courtesy of MPS

As the cost of college continues to rise and families worry about how to pay the tuition bill, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is one of the most important steps on the path to college. By filling out the FAFSA, families receive a report of all federal money available to help finance the cost of higher education. Free money in the form of grants plus low-interest loans may be offered depending on a family’s financial status.

Andrea Adkins, mother of seven, has filled out the FAFSA with her children an estimated 20 times, and eagerly shares her experiences to help other families. “I had a dream for all my children to attend college and enjoy the full experience by living on campus,” she said. “With my oldest daughter, we had to work hard to figure out the process to apply for college and financial aid.”

Adkins’s oldest daughter attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison through the PEOPLE program, which helped pay her costs. The PEOPLE program is available to students at select high schools in Milwaukee Public Schools.

Two of Adkins’s children have graduated from college with bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Her middle daughter is working on a master’s degree and her two youngest children are both in college, one at Philander Smith and one at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. The college degrees are beginning to pile up in the Adkins household, with more to come.

“I want to tell parents to educate themselves,” Adkins said. “We had to learn a lot about college and financial aid. I feel so blessed that five of my children are living their college dreams. This would not have been possible without FAFSA.”

MPS has College and Career Centers in 20 high schools where students and families can get help from trained staff to research schools, fill out applications and scholarships, and fill out the FAFSA. For locations and hours, visit the College and Career web page at https://mps.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/en/Programs/College-and-Career-Centers.htm.

Fill out the FAFSA only at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa. Avoid web sites that charge a fee. The FAFSA for the 2020-21 school year is now open. Early applicants are sometimes eligible for more funds, so apply now!