Interview: 55,000 Degrees


by Press Release

Posted on January 15, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 15 at 2:21 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- January is the time for high school students and adults headed to college to cash in on financial aid opportunities. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are available to help current and prospective students earn their degrees. And now is the time to file for those federal and state financial aid dollars.
To encourage more students to file now, Mayor Greg Fischer announced "Get Cash for College: File, Follow and Facebook," a contest sponsored by 55,000 Degrees that will award $1,000 in college scholarship money to one lucky Louisville-area winner who fills out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and then uses social media to spread the word.
55,000 Degrees is the public-private partnership committed to adding 55,000 more college graduates to Louisville by 2020.
To qualify, prospective or current college students must complete two tasks:
     Fill out the online form at
     Use social media to announce taking the important step toward going to college (as specified below)
To be eligible for the contest, file your FAFSA, then follow @55kDegrees on Twitter or like 55,000 Degrees on Facebook and then tweet or post a message on the 55,000 Degrees wall mentioning @55kDegrees and using #cashforcollege.  All tweets and posts on the 55,000 Degrees wall mentioning @55kDegrees and using the hashtag in the month of January will be put into a drawing to receive a $1,000 scholarship. The contest is limited to one Twitter and Facebook entry per person.
"More people in Louisville have college degrees than ever before," said Mayor Fischer. "To keep those numbers growing, we need to ensure more people get the federal financial aid they deserve."
Students can qualify for up to $7,545 a year in state and federal grants for public colleges ($10,475 for private colleges).  "Thousands of dollars in financial aid and scholarships are available," said Mary Gwen Wheeler, executive director of 55,000 Degrees.  "But the state money will run out quickly. It's important for people to take action and file the FAFSA this month."
State financial aid dollars will be committed as early as February
Grants and work-study funds are given based on need to lower-income households. Some funds are limited and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis; Kentucky's funds will likely be committed for students at public colleges by early February and for private colleges by late February.

Applicants need the following information for the FAFSA:
     Social Security number
     Driver's license number
     Most recent income document (pay stub, W-2, etc.)
     Untaxed income records
     Current bank statements
     Current business and investment information.
     Alien registration or permanent resident card (if you're not a U.S. citizen)

The FAFSA must be complete and official to be considered for Get Cash for College: File, Follow and Facebook. The scholarship contest ends Friday, January 31.  The winner will be awarded a scholarship to an accredited higher education institution, of his choosing, that awards associate's or bachelor's degrees. Scholarship funds must be used for course work taken between May 1, 2014 and May 30, 2015. Payment will be made to the institution in the name of the student. To be eligible, the winner must either be a resident of Greater Louisville or attending a Louisville area post-secondary institution.

Find complete information at