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President Obama Urges Miami Students To Apply For Federal Aid

Walter Michot
Miami Herald

President Obama told Coral Reef High School students Friday that last year, Florida left one-hundred million dollars in federal pell grants untouched.

"A hundred million dollars that could've helped Florida students help pay for college was just left on the table," says the president. 

He says it was the result of Florida's graduating seniors last year who failed to fill out the free federal financial aid form, which was about half.

This was news to Coral Reef chemistry teacher Stefano Pagani.

"A hundred million dollars," says Pagani. "That's absolutely astonishing."

President Obama asked every high school student in America to fill out the FAFSA form. 

"Even if you think you might not qualify for financial aid, fill out the form. You might qualify," says the president.

Credit Jessica Meszaros / WLRN
Coral Reef students took photos and videos of President Obama as he pleaded for them to fill out a FAFSA form before graduation.

He says the form is shorter and easier to fill out this year for parents and students. Olivia Galeiras, Coral Reef senior, says it took her less than half an hour to fill out her FAFSA form. 

"In the past my family members have had difficulties with FAFSA, and this year it was the easiest for me and my mom to do together," says Galeiras. 

President Obama then announced a new initiative to ensure graduating seniors will apply for free federal financial aid: principals will have access to a list of seniors who do not complete a form. 

Alexander Hererra is a junior, planning to apply for FAFSA next year. He says the president's initiative is "good 'cause then the principal can help out, and help us get all the benefits we can in order to be good in college."

Florida seniors have until May 15 of this year to complete a FAFSA form.

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