Friday, June 8, 2018
Most students will agree that finances are the biggest obstacle to attending college, but not all students are aware of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that is the first step toward receiving financial aid for college. To drive awareness of this critical application, Milwaukee Public Schools is among 25 districts and organizations to receive a FAFSA Completion Challenge Grant from the National College Access Network. Funding in the amount of $40,000 will allow MPS to promote the FAFSA in its high schools and College and Career Centers and provide assistance to students in completing their applications.
The FAFSA, once completed, informs students of financial aid they qualify for, including Pell Grants and federal loans. The FAFSA is also required by many scholarships to determine a student’s eligibility, and thus opens the door to opportunities for financial assistance. A high number of students are unaware of the financial aid process or require assistance to complete the application.
In recent years and in partnership with Milwaukee Succeeds, MPS has set out to increase the number of FAFSA applications among its seniors. As of May 25, 2018, the overall district completion rate for FAFSA was 67.4%, up from 64% on that date last year. MPS seniors are on track to exceed the record-breaking FAFSA completion rate of 72.8% during 2017–18, which was a 22.9% increase from the 2016–17 completion rate and well ahead of the state average of 54 percent. The support from Milwaukee Succeeds that helped lead to these results was an important factor in MPS being selected for the FAFSA Completion Challenge Grant.
Completion of the FAFSA may help predict a student's success in postsecondary education. Ninety percent of high school seniors who complete the FAFSA attend college directly after high school, compared to only 55 percent of FAFSA non-completers.
“College and career readiness is an important focus area in MPS,” said Interim Superintendent Keith P. Posley. “We are working to ensure that students are ready for college not only academically, but through a wide range of supports designed to prepare them for all facets of college life, including the financial aid process. This grant will help propel our efforts to support our students.”
More information about this grant is available on the National College Access Network website.