Arizona FAF$A Challenge

JAN 2019 Newsletter

State FAFSA Completion Goal Update

Happy New Year from the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education! As of January 4, 2019 we started off the year with a 30% FAFSA completion rate among Arizona high school seniors. Thanks to all of the hard work from the high schools, districts, college access partners and postsecondary institutions over 20,000 FAFSA applications were completed from Oct 1st--Jan 4th! We are close to hitting our 43% FAFSA completion rate from last year and are well on our way to achieving this year’s 50% goal. In order to reach the goal, we are encouraging all high schools to continue their FAFSA completion efforts this Spring semester.

December 2018 - Most Innovative Player Award

The Governor’s Office of Education and The Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education are pleased to award Douglas High School the December 2018 Most Innovative Player Award! Douglas High School has continuously been in the Top 5 schools leading the state in FAFSA completion since the Arizona FAF$A Challenge began in October 2018. Their FAFSA completion efforts have become a community-wide initiative with the support of their administration, college access partnerships, and local businesses. The counselors at Douglas High School go above and beyond to assist their students with FAFSA completion and college-going initiatives throughout the school year! Congratulations to Douglas High School for a job well done!

Douglas High School Best Practices

1. Partnerships- Cochise College partners with Douglas High School to assist at their on-campus FAFSA events and college-going efforts.

"Our partnership with Cochise College has been essential with all of the support that they have provide for our students."

-Diego Guerrero - Douglas High School Counselor

2. FAFSA Training- Counselors and all senior advisory teachers participated in a FAFSA training workshop given by the Arizona College Access Network (AzCAN). This training was given at the beginning of the school year so that they were prepared to assist students with the FAFSA process when the application became available on October 1st.

3. Creating a Plan- Counselors, teachers and administrators at Douglas High School create a plan each school year to ensure that their students have access to the assistance needed to pursue their post high school education goals.

4. Utilizing FAF$A Finish Line Reports- Staff at Douglas High School utilize the FAF$A Finish Line reports frequently throughout the school year. Counselors use the data to follow up with students on their incomplete FAFSA applications during their student enrichment period.

5. Keeping up the Momentum- FAFSA and college-going events are planned throughout the year. Douglas High School counselors plan FAFSA events in the Fall and in the Spring in order to ensure that all of their students have the opportunity to complete the FAFSA. Events are held during the day and in the evening to accommodate parent work schedules.

FAFSA Finish Line Portal Improvements are Here!

Having trouble downloading your FAFSA Finish Line Repots? New features and improvement to the AZGrants website are here! It is now easier than ever to pull your student level FAFSA data for your seniors. With the new features, users are now able to upload their student data without a header on the student list excel report, the system automatically truncates student first names and last names that exceed the character limit and much more! The updated Arizona FAF$A Finish Line User Guide can be accessed by clicking here.

If you would like to access your senior level FAFSA data for your high school please complete the following data agreement forms Data Sharing Agreement and ACPE User Agreement. Once completed and processed, you will have access to see which of your senior students have completed a FAFSA, who was selected for verification, or if a student has an incomplete FAFSA application on file. This is a great tool for high school counselors as well as career and college specialists to utilize in order to assist their students and increase their schools' FAFSA completion rates

Interesting Article- Here is why every Student should Fill Out The FAFSA

Should every teenager complete a FAFSA application? The answer is yes, always! Many students and parents posses misleading information and assumptions that allude to the FAFSA being unnecessary and irrelevant. This brief article from CNBC discusses some of the many reasons why it is vital that every student across the United States submit their FAFSA. The major points include:

1. ALL students qualify

2. Students are leaving billions on the table

3. Situations change

What do these statements mean?

To learn more, visit:

Here are some relevant Arizona FAFSA facts from the 2017-18 school year:

1. 18,238 Pell grant eligible students did not complete a FAFSA in the 2017-18 academic year

2. $65 Million dollars of free Pell grant money students missed

3. 90% of all seniors who complete a FAFSA go on to post-secondary education

Only Two Chances Left to Win MIP!

Do you know a High School going above and beyond to ensure their students complete a FAFSA application? Nominate them for the Most Innovative Player Award,! There will be an MIP award winner for January and February - so just two chances left in the 18-19 school year to win!

Use the following link to our "contact us" page to submit your nomination today!

Scholarship Opportunity

The Commission hosts an annual College & Career Goal Arizona design and marketing contest to promote FAFSA completion activities across the state. This contest is a fun and creative scholarship opportunity for students who enjoy graphic design and marketing strategies. Competing students create a marketing suite for the College Goal FAF$A campaign. The winning design is selected through an online voting system and the winner receives $500. The next design and marketing contest will be announced on Facebook and Twitter in January 2019.

Twitter Contest Reminder

Friendly reminder about our Twitter contest! All NEW followers will be entered to win our giveaway, here are the rules:

1. Go to our twitter page

2. Follow us

3. You're entered to win!

Once we reach 200 Twitter followers we will be giving a $50 Amazon gift card to 2 lucky winners!