In a world where education opens doors to opportunity, navigating the financial aid landscape can be daunting for many students. Fortunately, a unique partnership between the state of Delaware and United Way of Delaware, the Stand By Me Delaware program, is turning the tide, ensuring that students across our state have the support they need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).


Completing FAFSA is a requirement for any student seeking financial aid for college, and FAFSA completion has been a crucial measure of a state’s commitment to higher education accessibility.  Stand By Me Delaware provided critical support to the Delaware Department of Education during this year’s FAFSFA rollout. For the second year in a row, Delaware has placed in the top ten for states with the most FAFSA completions. This achievement is not merely a statistic but a testament to the dedication of those involved in facilitating a smoother transition from high school to higher education.

However, this success came with its challenges. The delayed rollout of resources and information left many students overwhelmed and uncertain about their financial aid prospects. With the high stakes, every delay in accessing FAFSA support and guidance could derail a student’s dreams of pursuing higher education.

This year, as students faced the complexities of the FAFSA process amid unprecedented circumstances, United Way of Delaware and Stand By Me Delaware stepped up to the plate. Through a series of online sessions accessible across the state, students were equipped with the knowledge and resources needed to navigate the FAFSA confidently. These sessions, led by Stand By Me Delaware coaches, provided invaluable guidance on gathering necessary documents and understanding the intricacies of the application process.

Young women sitting at desks.
Delaware High School student Valeria describes her experience.

“There weren’t any significant problems on my end; however, when it came to my parents’ contribution part, I noticed that it wasn’t allowing my parents to access the portal. We thought it was perhaps the number of people trying to access the portal, so we waited a couple of days. When we reopened FASFA, we realized that my parents still couldn’t access the contribution part. My sister set up an appointment with Candace from Stand By Me. She helped me and my sister try to solve our problem. Candace never gave up on us. She would continuously message us about updates that FASFA would email her. We continued to set up meetings about the FASFA application, hoping our problem would be resolved. That wouldn’t happen until recently when Candace asked my sister if we could meet again because she thought she had found a way to solve our problem. It was a Wednesday morning, and instead of logging in as a student, we could log in as a parent. Finally, we got to the screen that said, your FASFA is complete!”

By prioritizing accessibility and support, United Way of Delaware and Stand By Me Delaware are breaking down barriers to higher education and paving the way for a brighter future for Delaware’s youth.

The journey to FAFSA success may be filled with challenges. Still, with the unwavering support of organizations like United Way of Delaware and Stand By Me Delaware, students can confidently navigate the path to higher education. As Delaware continues to climb the ranks of FAFSA completions, it’s clear that collaboration and community can truly change lives.

Learn more about Stand By Me Delaware and how we Financially Empower Delawareans at Visit to Give, Advocate, and Volunteer.