WASHINGTON ― The Education Department on Wednesday apologized for a tweet that depicted a scene from the movie Bridesmaids with the words “Help me. I’m poor” imprinted on it as part of an effort to get students to apply for federal aid.
“If this is you, then you better fill out your FAFSA: fafsa.gov,” the tweet reads. The quote in the movie is said during a comedic scene on an airplane by the character played by actress Kristen Wiig.
The department was seeking to encourage students to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The FAFSA form is the outlet to obtain federal grants and loans and many states and colleges use it to determine eligibility for other aid. The department estimates that more than 1 million high school students do not fill out the form ― many of whom would be eligible for a federal Pell Grant that would not have to be paid back.
The federal deadline for the upcoming school year is Monday.
Education spokeswoman Dorie Nolt said in a statement that the department apologizes for “this insensitive Twitter post, which flies in the face of our mission of opening doors of opportunity for every student.”
“It was an ill-conceived attempt at reaching students through social media. We are reviewing our process for approving social media content to ensure it reflects the high standards we expect at the U.S. Department of Education,” Nolt said.
The posting has been removed. A posting on the @FAFSA Twitter page now reads, “We apologize for the insensitivity of our previous tweet. Our goal is to make college a reality for all. We’re very sorry.”