Viacom and the Get Schooled Foundation Partner on “FAFSA-Forward” Campaign to Encourage FAFSA Completion

Feb 12, 2014
By ViacomCBS Staff

First Lady Michelle Obama Featured in a Special Public Service Announcement as Part of the Campaign

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA) today unveiled a special public service announcement (PSA) featuring the First Lady on the importance of completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The PSA is part of a FAFSA-Forward campaign from the Get Schooled Foundation and its founding partner Viacom, beginning today through February 17, to encourage students to take the first step in getting the money they need for college.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Baltimore’s New Era Academy valedictorian Lawrence Lawson team up in the spot, available here, to urge students not to “leave money on the table.” They let viewers know that the FAFSA takes less than thirty minutes to complete and can mean thousands of dollars towards the cost of higher education. Audiences are directed to GetSchooled.com and studentaid.gov to access the forms along with additional tools and resources.

The FAFSA-Forward campaign is also enlisting young people to help spread the word about FAFSA to their peers. Students who tweet using the hashtag #FAFSA and @GetSchooled from February 12-17 or retweet @GetSchooled will be entered to win one of ten $1,000 scholarships. More information on the contest is available at GetSchooled.com, along with personal, real time assistance tools to help students fill out their FAFSA forms, including one-on-one online helpouts and Khan Academy videos.

The PSA was taped last week at a FAFSA workshop with the First Lady and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at TC Williams high school in Alexandria, VA. The event, hosted in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education, Viacom and Get Schooled, provided students and parents with the opportunity to learn about the FAFSA and get assistance from counselors with filling it out. The First Lady spoke to students about youth empowerment and the importance of completing the FAFSA in finishing their education beyond high school.

First Lady Michelle Obama said, “FAFSA is quick, it’s easy, it’s free, and it can help you access thousands of dollars to help you and your family pay for college. Almost everyone is eligible for some form of financial aid; all you have to do to access that aid is fill out this one little form. It’s so simple. That’s my message for you and for students all across the country: fill out those forms.”

Philippe Dauman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Viacom, said, "Viacom is proud to partner with the First Lady and Get Schooled to help increase FAFSA completion rates and encourage more students to enroll in higher education. We are dedicated to using our brands’ deep relationships with young audiences to rally them to take charge of their futures.”

"More than a million seniors likely eligible for student aid each year fail to complete the FAFSA, though the form is free and easy to fill out,” said Marie Groark, Executive Director of the Get Schooled Foundation. “By offering and directing parents and students toward FAFSA resources, we hope to increase completion rates, an important predictor of college enrollment and graduation.”

About Viacom

Viacom is home to premier global media brands that create compelling television programs, motion pictures, short-form video, apps, games, consumer products, social media and other entertainment content for audiences in more than 160 countries and territories. Viacom's media networks, including MTV, VH1, CMT, Logo, BET, CENTRIC, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., TeenNick, Nicktoons, Nick at Nite, Comedy Central, TV Land, SPIKE, Tr3s, Paramount Channel and VIVA, reach approximately 700 million television subscribers worldwide. Paramount Pictures, America's oldest film studio, is a major global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment.

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Viacom
Lenore Feder, 212-846-7120
lenore.feder@viacom.com