PHOENIX, Nov. 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Arizona FAF$A Challenge is underway - a statewide initiative to encourage Arizona High School seniors to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA). The goal is to increase the FAFSA completion rate among high school seniors to 50 percent this year. An estimated $65 million in financial aid was left on the table last year because FAFSA applications were not completed by students.
"I'm happy to support this year's Arizona FAF$A Challenge goal of 50 percent of all Arizona seniors completing the FAFSA application," said Governor Doug Ducey. "The FAFSA goal is an integral part of the Achieve60AZ college knowing and going campaign to meet the state's postsecondary attainment target of 60 percent of working adults with a degree or certificate by 2030."
In 2017-2018, just 43 percent of Arizona High School seniors completed the FAFSA, the federal form which determines federal aid eligibility for college aid such as grants, student loans, work-study and some scholarships. The national completion rate is 60.9 percent. Challenge organizers strive to increase Arizona's percentage statewide to 78 percent by year 2030.
More than 18,000 Arizona students who were eligible last year did not receive a Pell Grant because they did not complete a FAFSA application – approximately $65 million in funds that could have been used to help fund a post-secondary education. If those students graduated with a degree, $448 million in tax revenue for the state would have been generated.
"The FAFSA is a vital part of the college application process," says April L. Osborn, Executive Director of the Commission for Postsecondary Education. "By not completing this 30-minute application form, our students are missing significant opportunities for financial aid that can help get them to and through college. This challenge is designed to increase awareness and encourage high schools to educate and assist their students in the process."
The Arizona FAF$A Challenge builds on friendly competition within Arizona High Schools. The website, https://fafsachallenge.az.gov/, highlights the progress and FAFSA completion rate of over 400 public high schools in the state. Schools can receive recognition and prizes based upon their students' FAFSA completion rate year over year as well as monthly progression and innovation awards. The challenge ends in May 2018.
The site also provides a series of links and resources about the FAFSA process for students, community members and schools.
The Arizona FAF$A Challenge is a partnership between the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education, the Arizona Governor's Office of Education, Achieve 60AZ and the Governor's FAFSA Completion Coalition.
About Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education:
The Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education's mission is to expand access and increase success in postsecondary education. The Commission offers the Arizona Family College Savings Program, administers student financial aid programs, hosts College Goal FAF$A and College Application Campaigns, as well as numerous other postsecondary education initiatives. For more information on the Commission visit www.highered.az.gov.
SOURCE Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education