Arizona FAF$A Challenge

FEB 2019

FAFSA Completion Goal Update

An estimated 11,000 more completed high school senior FAFSA applications are needed to reach our state’s 50% FAFSA completion goal. Currently, Arizona's FAFSA completion average is at 35% and the rate continues to increase each week bringing us closer to the 50% goal. As a result of these efforts, the ACPE is thrilled to announce that we have reached a record number of schools hosting a spring College Goal FAFSA event. In the past, most schools have only hosted a fall FAFSA event however, this year many schools are also coordinating spring events to reach those students who have not completed a FAFSA application in the fall or need assistance to complete the application that they already started.

In order to further support the state goal, we are also encouraging schools to continue working their FAFSA Finish Line Data reports. These reports are a critical resource that provide individual student FAFSA completion information. With Arizona having over 1,800 incomplete applications, these reports can assist in bridging the gap between an incomplete and completed FAFSA.

January 2019- Most Innovative Player

Congratulations to Tolleson Union High School on their well deserved award for the Most Innovative Player for the month of January. The Governor's Office of Education and the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education are delighted to award Tolleson Union High School with this award because of their encouragement and support that they provide to the students. Tolleson has created a culture around ensuring that their students are prepared for success in their post-secondary careers.

Best Practices

The Tolleson Union High School Counseling department has made it their mission to make TUHS a place where students will succeed and pursue their post-secondary goals. Here are their best practices that have worked for their school.

1. Ensuring students know all of their post-secondary education options: When meeting with students counselors ensure that students are informed about their post-secondary options including: colleges, universities, certificate programs, trade schools, and military.

" Our Goal is to make sure that when our students walk across the stage at graduation, that they know what their plan is"

- Andrea Wolochick, TUHS Counselor

2. Hosting FAFSA Events in Fall and Spring with Community Collaboration: Counselors coordinate FAFSA events in October to kick-off FAFSA season and in early spring to catch any students who may not have completed an application in Fall. They also partner with local businesses to provide food for their FAFSA nights so that students and their parents can have assistance completing their FAFSA application while dinner is provided.

3. Access and Resources for all students: All counselors have a laptop in their office so that students can schedule an appointment with their counselor to complete their FAFSA, scholarship and college applications. This has allowed students to get the one-on-one assistance needed.

4. Partner with Be A Leader Foundation and The Helios Education Foundation:

Tolleson Union High School District has partnered with Be A Leader Foundation and The Helios Education Foundation to provide a College Transition Specialist on their campus 1-2 days a week that is dedicated to assist students in completing their FAFSA and college applications. The counselors at TUHS have expressed that their College Transition Specialist Cecilia has played a vital role in assisting with their FAFSA completion efforts.

5. Dedicated Counseling Department Website: Counselors created a website that provides easily accessible post-secondary resources for their students which includes information about scholarships, the FAFSA, colleges and universities.

6 . Evaluating and Planning for the next school year: Currently Tolleson is up 10% year to date in FAFSA completions compared to last year. The counselors and administration continuously evaluate their school data throughout the year and set FAFSA completion goals each school year. Setting goals assists in their strategic planning for the upcoming school year so that they can continue to offer innovative best practices that work for their students to promote post-secondary success.

Scholarship Contest

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.

Scholarship guidelines and flyer can be found by clicking here

February is Financial Aid Awareness Month!

There's one very important celebration that takes place all month long that you may have overlooked...Financial Aid Awareness Month! That's right, February also promotes financial aid awareness and encourages students, parents, and teachers to explore financial aid options that are available for post-secondary educational opportunities. This is the perfect time to educate yourselves, family and communities about financial aid. This article provides resources and in-depth information clarifying FAFSA related questions that may arise during, before or after the FAFSA application process.

Check out the link below to read the article and learn more:

Univision FAFSA Workshop Event

Mark your calendars! On Saturday, March 30, 2019, Univision along with various community partners will be hosting a Financial Aid Fair at Phoenix College from 10am-2pm. Students and families will be provided with assistance on completing their FAFSA application so all are encouraged to attend! The ACPE will also provide a workshop on "How to Pay for College" which will review information about saving, applying for scholarships and financial aid.

Stay tuned, more information to come!