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Mississippi students who complete a FAFSA have 4.6 times greater odds of enrolling in college than those who did not complete a FAFSA. Yet, students who could benefit from financial aid the most are less likely to apply leaving some of the $120 billion in financial aid on the table each year to help pay for college. That’s why, along with our partners, we assist students and high schools with FAFSA completion. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is necessary to receive federal aid and many others sources of financial aid. In order to partner with and train school counselors, and high school teams, and college admission and financial aid staff to increase FAFSA completion across the state, we provide an online FAFSA Tracker, https://get2college.org/fafsa-tracker. It’s an interactive data dashboard that tracks and ranks high schools’ progress toward 100 percent of seniors completing the FAFSA.
The tracker shows weekly progress and allows for year-to-year comparisons at the community college district, school district, and high school levels before and after March 31, the HELP grant deadline. The Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid (MOSFA) offers the HELP grant based on merit and financial need to full-time (15 credit hours per semester) students attending eligible Mississippi colleges and universities. It covers tuition and fees for 8 semesters, and students must apply between October 1 and March 31 at https://www.msfinancialaid.org/ or link to the Mississippi application after completing the FAFSA. It’s crucial to monitor high school FAFSA completion before the HELP deadline, so eligible students can have the opportunity to receive the HELP grant.
The FAFSA completion rates in the tracker are calculated using the U.S. Department of Education Central Processing System, enrollment numbers from the Mississippi Department of Education, and self-reported enrollment numbers from participating private high schools.