WASHINGTON (NBC News) – First Lady Michelle Obama visited a high school in Alexandria, Virginia, Wednesday, to urge students all across the country to fill out financial aid forms for college.
The First Lady, along with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, attended a workshop at T.C. Williams High School.
Seniors there were filling out the “FAFSA,” the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is the first step in accessing federal help to pay for college.
As Mrs. Obama noted, the costs of higher education are daunting, and many families can become overwhelmed thinking about them. The computerized FAFSA form, she said, is a quick and easy way to start tackling that issue.
In the fall, the First Lady began promoting a new initiative to encourage more students to attend college, and over the past few months she has made numerous appearances in an effort to expand college opportunity.
First Lady Obama told the students:
“For those of you who might be wondering why the First Lady is here just to watch you fill out a computer form, it’s because completing this form is a critical start to completing your education.
Completing your education, whether it’s a two-year of four-year College, or vocational program is the single-most important thing that you can do for your future. That is it.
You’re starting to add up all the costs, the tuition, the room and board, the books, the lab fees, all kinds of other expenses I’m sure you never anticipated, and that was true for me, and you and your families I’m sure are wondering how you’re ever going to pay for all that.
And that’s where the FAFSA comes in. Because through FAFSA, the Department of Education provides more than $150 billion every year in low-interest loans, in grants that you don’t have to pay back, and work-study programs that can help cover your educational expenses. And I was a work-study student all throughout college.
FAFSA is quick, it’s easy, it’s free, and it can help you access the thousands of dollars to help you and your family pay for college.
You can become whatever you dream of becoming.”
After she spoke, Mrs. Obama went around the room to meet the students and their parents.
To fill out the FAFSA and learn more about how to pay for college, you can go to studentaid.gov, to find checklists, sample forms and links to help students and parents.