KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The deadline for high school seniors to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and remain eligible for up to two years of tuition-free community or technical college with Tennessee Promise is March 1, 2022.

In 2021, high school graduates across the state lost out on an estimated $48 million dollars in federal Pell Grant for college tuition and fees by not finishing the FAFSA, according to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. Also, THEC says students who complete the FAFSA are more likely to enroll in higher education, persist in their college coursework, and obtain a degree.

“Completing a FAFSA opens the door for thousands of dollars in state and federal financial aid for Tennessee’s students,” said Dr. Emily House, executive director of THEC and TSAC. “Our goal is that every eligible Tennessee high school senior has the opportunity to make plans for college and succeed, and completing a FAFSA is a critical first step, especially before the Tennessee Promise deadline.”

To apply for most state and federal financial aid for college, completing a FAFSA is the first step. To assist in navigating the process, THEC and Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation put together a number of resources for students and schools to help Tennessee’s FAFSA completion efforts. The resources for students include step-by-step FAFSA-filing instructions and videos.