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.

Program overview

  • 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
Target Population
High school-aged children
Cost per Participant
$97 per program participant

Evidence and impacts


Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by Social Programs That Work

  • Increased rates of FAFSA completion
  • Increased college persistence by 8 percentage points
  • Increased degree completion by 3 percentage points

Best practices in 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).