We are looking for a talented communications consultant to support our work!
Missouri College and Career Attainment Network (MOCAN) seeks to engage a strategic communications consultant to develop and implement a messaging campaign to increase awareness and inspire completion of the new FAFSA financial aid form rolling out in December.
MOCAN transforms lives by creating a more equitable, statewide postsecondary education system by increasing career and college awareness, preparation, access, affordability, and completion, particularly for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and People of Color (BILPOC) and Missourians from low-income backgrounds. MOCAN is a network of partners who work with students across the state.
MOCAN is the trusted resource for training high school counselors and community-based organizations on college and career advising. Each year, over 600 Missouri counselors participate in our free workshops, held in person and virtually with partners across the state. MOCAN manages My Scholarship Central, a free portal connecting over 13,000 students to scholarships and interest-free loan programs.
In December 2023, the U.S. Department of Education will roll out a new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The FAFSA is the first step in financial aid, determining a student’s eligibility for federal grants and loans, as well as state and institutional financial aid.
MOCAN is coordinating a statewide effort to ensure Missouri is ready for the new FAFSA. The principal focus is on training professionals in the field so they can support students and families. MOCAN seeks to create a complementary communications campaign to ensure students and families are aware of the changes coming to the FAFSA this year, and can easily find reputable information when they need help.
Completing the FAFSA has historically been challenging, but this year it will be even more so for two reasons:
- The form is new, with a new format, new calculation process, and new questions, requiring information never asked before. The college and career counselors and financial aid advisors that students and families will turn to for help will themselves be learning the new form as well.
- The FAFSA will open in December rather than the standard October 1 opening date.
With change comes confusion. How can MOCAN best clarify these changes for students and their families?
Request for Proposals
MOCAN seeks to engage a strategic communications consultant to develop and implement a messaging campaign to increase awareness and completion of the new FAFSA.
The goals of the messaging campaign are to:
- Increase awareness of changes to the FAFSA and the new timeline.
- Connect students and families to reputable online resources.
- Inspire students to complete the FAFSA as a first step toward a postsecondary education.
- Students applying to college for the first time, and their families
- Current college students (who need to renew the FAFSA annually)
- College and career counselors and financial aid professionals in schools, colleges, and community-based organizations (the people students and families rely on to guide them through the FAFSA and the stakeholders MOCAN is training to provide FAFSA support)
Anticipated Plan Components:
- Stakeholder engagement strategy to guide MOCAN staff and key partners.
- Key message development and training.
- Messaging for a student/family-facing website providing links to reputable resources.
- Creation of a social media/e-newsletter content calendar and assets that can be used by MOCAN and its partners.
- Additional recommendations, e.g. earned media.
- July 10 RFP issued
- July 25 Proposals due at Noon CDT to [email protected]
- Week of July 31 Consultant interviews and selection
- Week of Aug 14 Consultant onboarding meeting
- Oct 1 The date the FAFSA typically opens (not this year)
- Dec TBD New FAFSA opens
- May Wrap up campaign
- Consultant name and contact information.
- Organizational overview.
- Description of experience on similar projects, including documentation/links to similar campaigns.
- Description of your experience reaching BILPOC, low-income and rural communities.
- Description of how you would approach this project, including proposed scope of work, timeline, and budget. Please note if any work would be subcontracted.
- Names of 2 individuals MOCAN can contact about your past work.
Consultant Selection Criteria
- Experience with communications campaigns similar to the one proposed.
- Proposed scope of work and budget.
- Knowledge and experience with Missouri communities.
- Knowledge and experience communicating with youth in underserved communities, including BILPOC, low-income, and rural communities.
- Knowledge of the postsecondary education and financial aid landscapes is a plus.
Proposals are due to MOCAN by Tuesday, July 25th at Noon CDT. Proposals should be emailed to Laura Winter at [email protected]. Questions can be directed to Laura as well. Thank you for considering this project.