Jessica Vance, School Improvement Consultant, firstname.lastname@example.org
Last year, Iowa became the first state to ensure all high schools have the opportunity to receive and review FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) completion data, through partnerships with AEA PREP and Iowa College Aid. At Great Prairie AEA, three (3) districts who use these reports significantly increased the percentage of seniors who completed the FAFSA, from the previous year.
- Keota: 14% increase in FAFSA completion
- New London: 19% increase in FAFSA completion
- Oskaloosa: 8% increase in FAFSA completion
Why is FAFSA completion so important? According to the FAFSA Completion Initiative, 90% of students who complete the FAFSA proceed directly to college. Additionally, “checking in” on FAFSA completion gives caring educators multiple opportunities to engage in meaningful conversations with students – ensuring all students have a postsecondary goal and plan.
New London school counselor Rita Alspach stated, “Having the weekly report helped me reach out to every student, and it was exciting to see our completion rates increase.” She also encouraged working with partners. New London partnered with Southeastern Community College (SCC) during their conferences, which meant the staff was available to support completing the FAFSA – both at New London or at the SCC campus.
October brings the opening of a new FAFSA season and schools can look forward to receiving FAFSA completion data again, starting in late October or early November.