H&R Block College Financial Aid Application Assistance
Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
- This strategy can help address educational disparities. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
- Provides technical assistance and counseling to families attempting to fill out the FAFSA
- Uses the family’s tax return data to answer most questions on the FAFSA
- H&R Block employees conduct 10-minute interviews to gather additional necessary information and submit the application
- Estimate the aid the applicant was eligible for and the net tuition cost of attending nearby colleges
Strength of evidence
Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)
Proven (highest tier)
Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by Social Programs That Work
High school-aged children
$97 per program participant
Outcomes and impact
- Increased rates of FAFSA completion
- Increased college persistence by 8 percentage points
- Increased degree completion by 3 percentage points
Keys to successful implementation
- Note: This content is under review
- Partner with local tax preparation providers to identify and recruit program participants using predetermined criteria, such as household income (less than $45,000), age (15-30), and educational attainment (no bachelor’s degree).
- Invest in automation software to expedite the FAFSA completion process both for the participating families and assisting tax professionals.
- Train participating tax preparers on automation software and interview best practices to help families quickly and comfortably complete FAFSA process; provide ongoing support and observation, especially during initial engagements.
- During 10-minute interview, encourage tax preparers to provide personalized financial aid estimates and to clearly describe tuition costs for nearby colleges.
- When possible, combine the FAFSA completion process with an already-scheduled visit (i.e. during a pre-existing appointment for tax preparation).