Alachua County Public High Schools Increase FAFSA Completion Rate by 9.6%

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The Community Foundation of North Central Florida, Alachua County Education Compact, and Business in Greater Gainesville are thrilled to announce the winners of the local 2017 Florida FAFSA Challenge.

Jennifer Taylor, Supervisor of Guidance and Student Services and the seven Alachua County Public high schools Guidance Counselors, had a goal to increase the number of seniors completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by 5% through March 31, 2017.  The Guidance Counselors have met their goal, having increased the number of seniors who completed the Federal Financial Aid form by 9.6% contributing to a statewide gain of 9.1%.

All seven high schools hosted a Financial Aid night, and the district hosted a community-wide Financial Aid night at Buchholz High Schools in late March.

“The credit for the increase in the FAFSA Completion rate this year was a result of the shared vision our community had for increasing the number of seniors that completed the Financial Aid application, said Ian Fletcher, Vice President of Education and Talent Alignment for the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce. “The School Board, Superintendent, Schools, Guidance Counselors and Community Partners worked together to enhance the lives of these graduating seniors.”

The Community Foundation of North Central Florida agreed to sponsor the gift baskets at a value of over $300 to the winners.

Eastside High School was the winner of the FAFSA Challenge locally with an FAFSA Completion Rate of 49.3% and an 8.7% increase over last year.

“MVP” (Have the highest FAFSA completion rate through March 31, 2017)

Eastside High School Guidance Counselors (Lindsey Brown, Jeff Rant, Cyndi Markoch, Sylvia Walker and Amy Vaknin).

Hawthorne Middle/High School was the school with the greatest improvement in the district and completed the local competition 2nd overall with a Completion rate of 45.2% and a 28% increase over last year and was ranked number six in the state for the most improved small school.  

“Most Improved” (Improved FAFSA completion rate the most, compared to last year through March 31, 2017)

Hawthorne Middle/High School Guidance Counselor (Heather Bates).

The Florida FAFSA Challenge is a statewide campaign to increase the proportion of Florida high school seniors who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which helps students qualify for federal aid like Pell grants to pay for their college expenses. The challenge encourages all Florida schools and districts to set an FAFSA completion goal that is 5% higher than March 31st of last year, or, a goal that fits their schools’ circumstances.

Join me in thanking all our Guidance Counselors for the hard work they put in each day to ensure that our students are doing well and are on the right career pathway to upward mobility and a better way of life in our community.

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