The Mississippi FAFSA Challenge is on! 

Get2College, a program of the Woodward Hines Education Foundation, is hosting a FAFSA Challenge for financial aid administrators in Mississippi. 

Why This is Important

We know that completion of the FAFSA is a good predictor of a student accessing postsecondary education.  Get2College has been working in eight high schools since fall 2016 with counselors, teachers, students and parents to create a college going culture with a goal of moving the needle on college access and completion.  From our new research from the Social Science Research Center (SSRC) at Mississippi State University, students who completed a FAFSA had over four times (4X) greater odds of enrolling in college than those who did not complete a FAFSA.  

While many schools will have high FAFSA completion rates by August, students could receive more state funding, institutional dollars, and private scholarships if they complete the FASFA by March 31st. Our goal is to increase the FAFSA completion in each high school by March 31st. We want to assist high schools in helping students receive as much funding as they can!

Here is the Challenge

We invited financial aid administrators to adopt a high school to promote FAFSA completion, and win $1000 if their high school has either the highest FAFSA completion, the highest FAFSA increase, or the best FAFSA completion strategy by the March 31 Mississippi HELP grant deadline.  Twenty six financial aid administrators joined the challenge!

FAFSA Dashboard

Come back soon to check out the Mississippi FAFSA dashboard tracking all high schools in Mississippi.  Pass it along – First U Hafta FAFSA!

Rules

  • Schools eligible for adoption must have a 50% or lower rate of FAFSA completion as of March 31, 2018. The high schools often have high FAFSA completion rates by August, but this challenge is moving FAFSA completion earlier!

  • Individual financial aid administrators in colleges in Mississippi or any member of MASFAA may participate. (Or you can create a team!)

  • FAFSA completion results will use the federal data (compiled and analyzed by IHL) with the closest federal reporting period to March 31, comparing 2018 to 2019 completion. High school senior enrollment will come from the Mississippi Department of Education as reported from the high school late fall.

  • One winner will be chosen from each category: 

    • Overall highest % FAFSA completion 

    • Overall highest % increase

    • Most innovative strategy for creating a college culture and increasing FAFSA completion. To win the $1000 for best FAFSA completion strategy, a final report will be due by April 30, 2019.

  • All awards will be made at MASFAA annual conference, June 2019.

  • Please read FAQs for more details! 

FAQs

  • Who can join the competition?  
    This competition is for ANYONE who works in a financial aid office across the Mississippi or for any member of MASFAA.  Of course you will want to get support from “the boss” and your institution.  They can help decide if this is something that can be done during work hours or after hours!  We don’t want any trouble on the job!

  • Does this have to be an individual competition or can we do this as a team? 
    The design is for individuals to adopt a school, but maybe it’s more fun to form teams/partnerships, (and like the lottery, you have to be willing to split the money among the team members that sign up!)

  • What does the winning high school receive?
     The winning high school in each category will also receive $1000 for their counseling office to create a college culture.

  • What if I don’t know a high school counselor?
    If you decide to participate, you don’t have to have an established relationship.  G2C will help by providing any supports to help get the financial aid people connected to the right folks in the high schools. 

  • What if I didn’t participate in your FAFSA training?
    That’s fine. This doesn’t have to be about assisting folks with individual FAFSA completion.  This might be more of helping support the counselor building a college culture.  You might sponsor a competition for decorating classroom doors with college material, host a financial aid night for parents at the high school, or join your recruitment team when they visit the high school or college fair. 

  • What if our community college already partners with Get2College and are in the high schools?
    You can still individually adopt one of your high schools to really move the needle beyond your FAFSA completion day. You can partner with the high school counselor to find new ways to reach students such as using the student record level data available from the MS Office of Student Financial Aid to improve their school’s FAFSA completion rate.

For more information contact Kierstan DuFour at kdufour@get2college.org or call 601-321-5531.