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Monday, February 26, 2024
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University of Wisconsin System’s new social media advocacy campaign hopes to boost FAFSA applications

The social media campaign aims to promote the FAFSA to Wisconsin high school seniors and prospective college students.

The University of Wisconsin System President Jay Rothman announced a new social media campaign to encourage students to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) last month. This initiative follows the announcement of the Wisconsin Tuition Promise which lists filing for FAFSA as a preliminary eligibility requirement.

The campaign aims to promote the FAFSA to Wisconsin high school seniors and prospective college students. According to Wisconsin Public Radio, the advocacy campaign will spread the UW System’s message via popular social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

“The UW System campaign will use social media to encourage students and parents to fill out the FAFSA and direct them to the new website,” said the UW System press release. “It will also use strategically targeted radio ads to reach parents of eligible students.”

According to UW System spokesperson Mark Pitsch, the campaign has brought increased attention to the FAFSA website. 

“In just 10 days we’ve seen more than 3,400 clicks on our FAFSA website as a result of our campaign on Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook,” said Pitsch. “We expect thousands more as the campaign continues through February 2023 with the addition of a radio component.”

The new UW Help FAFSA site provides video walkthroughs and written guides for students and parents on how to fill out the application. Additionally, it advertises FAFSA events hosted by the College Goal Wisconsin program, which aims to make the events more accessible for all students. 

According to a press release, Wisconsin is ranked 38th in FAFSA completion with just under 50% of seniors filing. Through the social media advocacy campaign, the universities aim to make the FAFSA more accessible and assist students in understanding the filing process. New ads also attempt to raise awareness of Wisconsin Tuition Promise. 

For many students, filling out the FAFSA this year could mean attending a UW System school free of charge due to the Wisconsin Tuition Promise. The initiative was announced on Aug. 15. 

“The Wisconsin Tuition Promise would provide up to four years of tuition and fee funding for students coming from families earning less than $62,000 annually and enrolling at any of the other 12 public universities within the UW System,” the UW System said in the release about the new program.

The program is set to begin in the fall of 2023. In order to be eligible, students must fill out the FAFSA.

“The program would be structured to provide ‘last dollar’ financial support after federal and state grants are accounted for,” said Rothman. “As a result, Tuition Promise awards will vary.”

By granting tuition coverage to underserved Wisconsin students, the promise aims to help supply a stronger workforce for the future. 

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“The benefits of a college education are unassailable,” Rothman said. “A college degree needs to be within reach for every Wisconsin Citizen as a path to a better life, and the Wisconsin Tuition Promise will provide these opportunities. It is also how we can close the skills gap that now limits Wisconsin’s potential to thrive in a global economy.” 

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