FAFSA Challenge Effort
Increasing FAFSA Completion
Every year, the federal government provides more than $150 billion in financial aid (grants, work-study, and loans) for college or career school. The FAFSA application not only gives students access to the aid; but also, it allows students and families to find a better path toward college affordability and earning a degree. Yet too few of our seniors apply for this aid by completing the FAFSA.
Our Plan in Milwaukee
Since March, community members, including representatives from K-12 schools, from institutions of higher education, and from youth-serving organizations have come together to develop a plan to support students toward greater FAFSA completion. MPS representatives, including school counselors and others, have been instrumental in developing the plan. We are now beginning the work of implementing the plan.
Why FAFSA & Why Now?
- The FAFSA is necessary to qualify for federal, state and institutional aid.
- More likely to enroll in postsecondary if you complete the FAFSA.
- More likely to attend full-time if receive aid => More likely to complete a degree if full-time.
- Students who file early (in October and November this year) receive on average more than twice the funding from federal, state and college sources as those who file later in the year.
- Two significant changes to the FAFSA Process in the Fall of 2016.
The community goal for the Class of 2017 is to increase FAFSA completion among all enrolled Milwaukee seniors by 20 percentage points.
Getting It Done: The Strategy
From the collective experience of our members, our strategy focuses on removing barriers and embedding FAFSA completion into school culture through a three-pronged approach:
- Leading the Charge: school level leadership
- Easing the Process: facilitate targeted professional development for the community of staff that interact with seniors
- Building Excitement around the initiative: citywide
We believe this ambitious goal is possible due to the potential for growth considering the benchmark completion rate, the number of committed strategic partners invested as active participants in these efforts and the momentum that is possible based on the modified FAFSA schedule. Many best practice strategies have been employed for fall college application completion across the city, which we are excited to replicate and compliment through the lens of the FAFSA.
We’re focusing our direct efforts during the initial year of implementation on the following 24 public, charter, and choice high schools:
- Audubon Technology and Communication High School
- Bay View High
- Bradley Technology High
- Hamilton High
- James Madison Academic Campus
- King International
- MacDowell Montessori School K3-12
- Milwaukee High School of the Arts
- Milwaukee School of Languages
- Morse Marshall
- North Division High
- Obama School of Career and Technical Education
- Pulaski High
- Reagan College Preparatory High
- Riverside High
- South Division High
- Vincent High
- WHS Information Technology
- El Puente High
- Escuela Verde
- Messmer Catholic Schools
- Milwaukee Academy of Science
- Milwaukee Collegiate Academy
- St Anthony School Of Milwaukee
Project results will be available next year. Visit the Postsecondary Enrollment page for current FAFSA data.
- FAFSA Month Kick-off
- Media Campaign
- Tallying & Incentives
- FAFSA Events
- Ongoing PD & support
- Analyze data
- Develop plan for second push based on fall performance
To date, Milwaukee Succeeds has hosted 18 trainings at MPS traditional high schools, six at choice and charter schools, 26 principals and central office staff, plus 300+ senior level teachers and staff. We are now in a better position to impact over 3,000 seniors to support FAFSA completion.
Stay tuned for more information as updates/results are available…