March 7, 2017

Guidance counselors at seven Alachua County public high schools have risen to a challenge issued via the Florida College Access Network’s Florida FAFSA Challenge in September. The FAFSA Challenge strives to boost the proportion of public high school seniors completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by at least 5% over last school year. Together, the seven Alachua County high schools have increased the number of completed applications by six percent, exceeding the goal nearly a month ahead of the challenge’s March 31 end.

“Over the last three years we’ve seen a growing number of schools, districts and communities working together to help their students make college more affordable,” said Troy Miller, Florida CAN’s associate director for research and policy. “It’s great to see that all their hard work is making a difference for students across the state.” Florida’s collective efforts to boost FAFSA completion are having an impact: Completing the FAFSA is one of the most important steps students need to take to access college or career school. Students

must complete the form to qualify for federal financial aid programs to pay for their college expenses. Yet according to Florida CAN’s research, each year Florida’s high school graduates leave behind more than $100 million in Pell Grants alone because they do not fill out the form.

In early April, the Florida College Access Network will announce and celebrate the top-performing schools and districts in the state. To see which schools and districts are currently leading this year’s Florida FAFSA Challenge, including the schools with the highest and most improved rates, check out the Florida FAFSA Challenge leaderboard.

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