FAFSA deadline approaching for Tennessee Promise

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Federal Application for Student Aid -- or FAFSA -- deadline is almost here for students who plan to sign up for Tennessee Promise.

Federal scholarship and grant money goes unclaimed every year, and Sunday, local volunteers, churches and schools hoped to change that.

Volunteer Memphis held a "FAFSA Goal Sunday" at the main library in East Memphis.

Those students who want to be a part of the Tennessee Promise two-year assistance program only have until Tuesday to finish their FAFSA applications.

Students like Overton High School senior Lakeira Thompson have big dreams.

"I want to go to the WNBA, I want to be ... an architect and an entrepreneur."

And this is the first step to getting there.

She and her mother took advantage of the free help at the Benjamin Hooks Library Sunday to finish her application for federal student aid.

"It's important for her to be with me every step of the way," Lakeira said. "It's kind of a long process. I've gotten help at school from the counselors, teachers, the principal.

And Sunday -- volunteers.

Leadership Memphis says nearly $100 million in federal aid money was left on the table in 2013 and 2014.

"Very, very important because that talks about the next level of their life," Alton Cryer of Leadership Memphis said.

Organizers say families are facing challenges with their ID numbers and tax information.

Many of them saying the help was needed ahead of the Tennessee Promise FAFSA deadline this week.

"They use that money as a savior if they don't have enough money to pay for school," Cryer said.

If you miss the Tennessee Promise deadline, organizers say still get your FAFSA out of the way and start applying for other scholarship opportunities.