22 Cities Selected to Receive up to $55,000 in FAFSA Completion Challenge

May 23, 2016

By Sara Melnick, deputy director

NCAN is pleased to announce that 22 U.S. cities have been selected to receive up to $55,000 each for the FAFSA Completion Challenge Grant. Through this project, generously supported through a $1.6 million grant from The Kresge Foundation, NCAN is challenging the 22 cities to increase FAFSA completion rates by at least 5 percent for the graduating high school class of 2017.

“We know FAFSA completion is strongly associated with postsecondary enrollment, yet every year millions of students who are eligible for aid never complete the FAFSA,” said Bill Moses, Kresge’s managing director, Education. “That’s especially true for low-income students who could use the federal assistance the most. Through this challenge, Kresge is proud to partner with NCAN to strengthen our country’s urban higher education ecosystems to get more low-income students into college.”

Two significant changes to the FAFSA in the fall of 2016 will make applying for aid easier and better timed than ever for low-income students. The grant funding will support the planning and execution of citywide, cross-sector FAFSA completion efforts for the 2016-17 school year, with strategic efforts to help students navigate the new changes and timing.

The selected cities and organizations leading the grant efforts are:

  • Birmingham, AL - Alabama Possible
  • Phoenix, AZ - Arizona College Access Network
  • Los Angeles, CA - Unite-LA
  • Bakersfield, CA - Kern Community Foundation
  • Jacksonville, FL - Duval County Public Schools
  • Louisville, KY - Community Foundation of Louisville
  • Baton Rouge, LA - Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance
  • Detroit, MI - Excellent Schools Detroit
  • Kansas City, MO - Mid-America Regional Council
  • Jackson, MS - Get2College
  • Greensboro, NC - University of North Carolina Greensboro
  • Manchester, NH - Manchester School District
  • Albuquerque, NM - Albuquerque Public Schools
  • Cleveland, OH - College Now Greater Cleveland
  • Columbus, OH - I Know I Can
  • Portland, OR - Higher Education Coordinating Commission
  • Philadelphia, PA - Philadelphia College Prep Roundtable
  • San Juan, PR - Kinesis Inc.
  • Houston, TX - Project GRAD Houston
  • Austin, TX - Austin Chamber of Commerce
  • Charleston, WV - West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission
  • Cheyenne, WY - Laramie County Community College

In addition to the 22 city grants, NCAN will also award three to five additional monetary prizes totaling $300,000 in September 2017 among the 22 grant-funded cities. Prizes will go to:

  • The city demonstrating greatest percentage point growth in high school FAFSA completions for the Class of 2017, compared to the Class of 2015
  • The city demonstrating the highest high school FAFSA completion rate for the Class of 2017
  • The city demonstrating the most innovative or collaborative FAFSA completion strategy and/or partnership with postsecondary institutions

The 22 cities were selected through a review process with the assistance of a distinguished advisory committee:

  • Lindsay Ahlman, TICAS
  • Caroline Altman Smith, The Kresge Foundation
  • Sarah Bauder, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Eddie Brambila, Illinois Student Assistance Commission
  • Diane Corbett, Ohio State University
  • Denise Davis, Educate Texas/TXCAN
  • Jennifer Dunn, College Board
  • Juan Garcia, ACT
  • Haley Glover, Lumina Foundation
  • Sarah Kirschenbaum, ECMC Foundation
  • Troy Miller, Florida College Access Network
  • Ed Pacchetti, Office of Federal Student Aid, U.S. Department of Education
  • Lindsay Page, University of Pittsburgh
  • Pat Roe, USA Funds
  • Sarah Weiss, Washington Student Achievement Council

NCAN thanks The Kresge Foundation for FAFSA Completion Challenge grant funding. More information about the FAFSA Completion Challenge Grant is available at www.collegeaccess.org/FAFSAchallenge

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