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Lt. Gov. Gilchrist, MiLEAP launch “Reach for the Pie” initiative to promote financial aid opportunities for Michigan students

Completing the FAFSA is first step to additional financial aid opportunities such as the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, which offers up to $27,500 over five years for college education

Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II joined the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP) today to kick off “Reach for the Pie,” a statewide initiative and contest, in partnership with Hungry Howie’s and Michigan Credit Union League, encouraging students and parents to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to lower the cost of college and unlock valuable financial aid opportunities such as the Michigan Achievement Scholarship.

The goal of the initiative is to encourage Michigan students to complete the FAFSA to increase access to student aid. By completing the FAFSA, class of 2024 students will be eligible to enter the contest for a chance to win free Hungry Howie’s pizza for a year. The prize will be awarded to 100 randomly selected students. The deadline to enter the contest is June 30, 2024. MiLEAP’s MI Student Aid will post the list of winners on on or after Aug. 1, 2024.

“Reach for the Pie” comes as the White House and the U.S. Department of Education recently declared April 15-19 the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Week of Action, advocating a concerted effort from all stakeholders at all levels to assist students and families with completing the 2024 FAFSA.

 “With FAFSA, students can ‘Reach for the Pie,’ and unlock doors to opportunity,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “They can access critical financial aid like the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, which offers up to $27,500 for college. The Achievement Scholarship is a cornerstone of our vision to remove financial barriers and ensure that by 2030, 60% of Michiganders will hold a postsecondary credential. We will keep working hard to pave the way for future leaders.”

The Michigan Achievement Scholarship, established to lower the cost of college and support the state’s educational goals, offers significant financial assistance to eligible high school graduates. This scholarship, along with other state-funded programs such as Michigan Reconnect, Tuition Incentive Program and MI Future Educator programs, aim to increase access to higher education and workforce development.

“There has never been a better time for students to explore financial aid. The new streamlined FAFSA process can open scholarship and grant opportunities like the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, providing all Michiganders an affordable path to college.,” said Michelle Richard, acting director of MiLEAP. “Our goal with ‘Reach for the Pie’ is to not only make students aware of these opportunities but also to incentivize them to take action and complete the FAFSA now so they can enroll in college this fall.”

“Filling out the FAFSA is the gateway to unlocking scholarship opportunities, including the new Michigan Achievement Scholarship, which provides up to $8,250 over three years at a community or tribal college, up to $27,500 over five years at a four-year public college or university or up to $20,000 over five years at a private college or university,” said Diann Cosme, director of MiLEAP’s MI Student Aid. “By participating in this statewide FAFSA initiative, students not only have the chance to win free pizza for a year but also take a significant step toward securing their financial future.”

“Encouraging students and families to complete the FAFSA is not just about accessing federal student aid or grants; it’s about making a smart financial decision,” said Kieran Marion, executive vice president of advocacy for the Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) and the Michigan Credit Union Foundation (MCUF). “This event exemplifies MCUL’s priorities to provide Michiganders with access to pathways for financial growth and stability, and by supporting this FAFSA initiative, MCUL and MCUF are demonstrating their commitment to financial literacy, empowering individuals to make smart financial decisions and advancing the broader goal of promoting financial health and security for all.”

The pizza is provided through a partnership with Hungry Howie’s.

“Our independently owned and operated franchises are deeply rooted in their communities,” said Kevin Dittrich, franchisee owner of Hungry Howie’s in the Lansing area. “We are excited to partner with MiLEAP and MI Student Aid to provide incentive for students to complete their FAFSA and have more opportunities for financial aid.”

About MI Student Aid:

MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing equality of access to student financial resources and information. Through the administration of various student financial assistance programs, students receive the guidance and funding necessary to pursue their educational goals. MI Student Aid strives to help students from birth to beyond college graduation. MI Student Aid is within the Office of Higher Education at MiLEAP.

About “Reach for the Pie”:

“Reach for the Pie” offers all graduating seniors the opportunity to enter to be one of 100 randomly selected winners of free pizza for a year (one free pizza a week for 52 weeks). To enter, simply text FAFSA to 844-34-PIZZA. Participants will receive the response “To complete your entry, enter your first and last name, email address and mailing address.” Once that information is completed, participants will receive a thanks-for-entering message and a link to the complete rules. The deadline to enter the contest is June 30, the official last day to submit a FAFSA. Winners of the contest will be announced on or after Aug. 1.

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