BATON ROUGE, January 11, 2024 – Louisiana students applying for financial aid for college will have some extra help this year from Wyatt®, a digital FAFSA advisor, thanks to a partnership between the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) and Benefits Data Trust (BDT), a national nonprofit working to modernize access to government aid, including federal Pell Grants for college.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now open for students applying for financial aid for the 2024-2025 school year. Wyatt communicates via text message to share timely information and answer students’ questions as they work to complete the FAFSA to apply for federal, state, and institutional aid for college.
This year, the FAFSA was released about three months later than usual – in late December.
“Federal Student Aid (FSA) will begin transmitting FAFSA data to postsecondary institutions in late January. The timeline is significantly compressed this year for families and institutions, which makes working together to provide assistance more crucial than ever. The goal is to help individuals and families file the FAFSA as soon as possible so students can be considered for aid that is determined on a first-come, first-served basis," said Dr. Sujuan Boutte, Executive Director of LOSFA. “Families still have choices. Students who are only applying for TOPS can file the online application now. Both the FAFSA and the TOPS online application count towards meeting the high school graduation requirement.”
There are several ways that LOSFA can assist parents and students to complete the FAFSA. LOSFA has scheduled FAFSA Completion events at high schools and postsecondary institutions throughout the state. Parents and students can schedule Virtual Office Hours assistance through Zoom or make an appointment to visit LOSFA's FAFSA Lab at its office in Baton Rouge.
In addition, Louisiana students can sign up to text with Wyatt and receive guidance on the FAFSA at https://www.GetFAFSAHelp.org/LOSFA.
In 2017, Louisiana became the first state in the country to require high school seniors to complete the FAFSA and today leads the nation in FAFSA completion. Last year, 71 percent of Louisiana high school seniors completed the FAFSA, far above the national average of 59 percent.
Wyatt, which since 2019 has helped 30,000 students nationwide secure nearly $40 million in federal grant aid for college, is fully updated to provide students with on-demand guidance to complete the revised 2024-2025 FAFSA, known as the Better FAFSA.
“Wyatt is a critical tool in our mission to make government assistance simple and easy for eligible people to access,” said Trooper Sanders, CEO of Benefits Data Trust. “Wyatt can help open doors to college for first-generation students or students from low-income backgrounds who may find the financial aid process cumbersome. Wyatt is always just a text message away with an answer for you.”
Backed by research and using artificial intelligence to understand and reply to questions, Wyatt helps students access accurate FAFSA guidance quickly.
Louisiana students can sign up at www.GetFAFSAHelp.org/LOSFA to get reminders and text with Wyatt about the FAFSA. Students sign up for Wyatt by sharing their first name, phone number, parish, and high school. Educators can download customizable resources such as flyers, posters, and email templates to share Wyatt with their students.
About Benefits Data Trust
Benefits Data Trust (BDT) improves health and financial security by harnessing the power of data, technology, and policy to provide dignified and equitable access to assistance. Together with a national network of government agencies and partners, we efficiently connect people today to programs that pay for food, healthcare, and more while helping to modernize benefits access for tomorrow. A nonprofit since 2005, BDT has secured more than $10 billion in benefits for households across the country, helping to reduce hunger and poverty and build pathways to economic mobility. Learn more at bdtrust.org.
About Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance
The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) is a Program of the Louisiana Board of Regents, that strives to be Louisiana’s first choice for college access by promoting, preparing for, and providing equity of college access. LOSFA administers the state’s scholarship and grant programs and the state’s Internal Revenue Code Section 529 college savings program. Learn more at mylosfa.la.gov.