College Foundation of West Virginia sets goal to increase FAFSA completion rates to 60 percent


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The College Foundation of West Virginia (CFWV) today announced a goal to increase the number of 12th graders who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or “FAFSA,” to 60 percent by April 15. Students planning to attend college during the 2017-18 academic year can complete the FAFSA online now at www.fafsa.gov using their 2015 tax returns. April 15 is the deadline for students to submit the form and be considered for the West Virginia Higher Education Grant Program, which provides grants to students based on their financial need. 

This past year (as of November 18), 58.5%  percent of high school seniors in the class of 2016 completed the FAFSA, which is the primary application for state and federal financial aid for college. Forty-six high schools met or exceeded the 60 percent mark:

  • Bishop Donahue Memorial High School 
  • Bluefield High School
  • Braxton County High School
  • Bridgeport High School
  • Brooke High School
  • Cabell Midland High School
  • Cameron High School
  • Capital High School
  • Chapmanville Regional High School
  • Cross Lanes Christian School
  • East Hardy High School
  • Frankfort High School
  • George Washington High School
  • Greenbrier East High School
  • Hedgesville High School
  • Hundred High School
  • Hurricane High School
  • Jefferson High School
  • Keyser High School
  • Magnolia High School
  • Mingo Central High School
  • Nicholas County High School
  • Nitro High School
  • Paden City High School
  • Paw Paw High School
  • Pendleton County Middle/High School 
  • Petersburg High School
  • Pocahontas County High School
  • Ravenswood High School
  • Ripley High School
  • Ritchie County High School
  • Sissonville High School
  • Spring Valley High School
  • Tucker County High School
  • Tug Valley High School
  • Tyler Consolidated High School
  • University High School
  • Valley High School
  • Van Junior/Senior High School
  • Wahama High School
  • Washington High School
  • Webster County High School
  • Wheeling Park High School
  • Williamstown High School
  • Winfield High School
  • Wirt County High School

 

Class of 2017 FAFSA Completion Rates by WV County

Heat map: FAFSA Completion Rates by County for the Class of 2017 as of November 18, 2016

A complete list of FAFSA completion rates for the class of 2017 by county and high school is available at www.cfwvconnect.com/financial-aid-outreach. The list will be updated weekly as schools make progress toward the goal. 

According to a report from the White House, “The President’s Plan for Early Financial Aid,” an estimated 2 million students who are enrolled in college and would be eligible for federal grants are missing out on receiving financial assistance because they failed to apply. 

To help more students complete the process, the federal government made changes this year to give families more time and make applying easier. In past years, the FAFSA opened online on January 1, and students had to submit information from their immediate prior year’s tax returns. This year, the form opened on October 1, and students can use their tax returns from 2015 instead of having to complete their 2016 returns first. 

“We want to make sure college is affordable for any student who desires to go,” Dr. Paul Hill, Chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission) said. “We are doing everything in our power to help students apply for financial aid and ultimately enroll in postsecondary education.”

Dr. Sarah Tucker, Chancellor of the West Virginia Community and Technical College System (WVCTCS), said completing the FAFSA is one of the most important steps in preparing for college. 

“By completing this one form, students can be considered to receive thousands of dollars in grants from both the state and federal government — that’s ‘free money’ that you don’t have to pay back,” Dr. Tucker said. 

Filing the FAFSA allows students to be considered for the Federal Pell Grant, which next year will provide students with up to $5,920 to cover the cost of tuition and other education expenses. Students who file the form before April 15 also will be considered for up to $2,700 through the West Virginia Higher Education Grant Program. Additionally, completing the FAFSA is a requirement of applying for State scholarship programs, including the PROMISE Scholarship. More information about these programs and other financial aid opportunities is available at cfwv.com, the state’s free college-planning website.  

College and university partners across the state have been working with high school counselors to increase awareness of the FAFSA and help students and families complete the form. For example, staff from the Commission’s office of financial aid are working together with financial aid staff at colleges and universities to offer hundreds of free financial aid and FAFSA workshops. A complete list of upcoming workshops is available at http://cfwvconnect.com/community-calendar 

CFWV is a college- and career-planning outreach initiative led by the Commission in collaboration with WVCTCS, the West Virginia Department of Education and the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts. 

 

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