A statewide campaign urges students to "Rock the FAFSA." The Free Application for Federal Student Aid helps families identify resources to pay for college. High schools throughout Illinois are encouraged to hold workshops for students and families during the week of March 15-19. District 186 in Springfield traditionally holds FAFSA workshops in February. "The vast challenges families have faced as a result of the pandemic have upended post-secondary education plans for some students, and remote learning has made it more difficult to reach many students to ensure they have adequate information about post-secondary options and financial aid," according to a press release. Illinois ranks in the top states for completion of the FAFSA. This is the first year of a state mandate that requires high school seniors to fill out the online form in order to receive a diploma. For those who don't qualify for federal assistance, there is the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid. "Most students will be eligible for some form of financial aid," said Eric Zarnikow, executive director of Illinois Student Assistance Commission, in a statement. "Completing a FAFSA or Alternative Application gives a student options. Whether you are considering a two- or four-year degree or technical or vocational training – knowing what kind of financial aid you can get for your education will allow you to make more informed choices about school."

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