BATON ROUGE, La. (BR Proud) — This year, state officials are asking high school seniors to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by Feb. 1, 2021. The request is part of a new program, FAFSA Now Pilot, initiated by the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA), in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Education.

“Completing the FAFSA early means students could potentially receive their college award letters sooner so they can know how much aid they will qualify for,” said Dr. Sujuan Boutte, executive director of LOSFA. “Once the application is complete, seniors can begin searching for scholarships and planning out how they will pay for the rest of their college education.”

At least 40 Louisiana schools have registered to participate in the FAFSA Now Pilot campaign, according to a release from LOSFA.

Along with federal aid such as the Pell Grant, work study and student loans, the FAFSA is the application for state aid programs like the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS), TOPS Tech and the Louisiana GO Grant. Federal aid like work study and the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), and some institutional aid are first-come, first-served. If a student waits too long to complete the FAFSA, they could possibly miss out on potential financial aid dollars, according to LOSFA.

“Every child deserves the opportunity to continue their education after high school, and financial burdens should not be a barrier,” said State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Cade Brumley. “This initiative will help open doors for our families that would have otherwise remained closed.”

The FAFSA Now Pilot will use text messaging and social media to spread the word on the importance of completing the FAFSA. Students and parents may follow @LOSFA on Twitter and Facebook and @LOSFA001 on Instagram.

Students and parents can text the word ‘LOSFA’ to 50065 for help, use #GeauxFAFSA on social media, and/or email