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


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. 

Last year, 57 percent of high school seniors completed the FAFSA, which is the primary application for state and federal financial aid for college. As of January 29, eight percent of this year’s 12th graders have completed the form. A complete list of FAFSA completion rates by high school is available at www.cfwvconnect.com/financial-aid-outreach

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. 

“We want to make sure college is affordable for any student who desires to go,” Brian Weingart, Senior Director for Financial Aid at the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission) and West Virginia Community and Technical College System (WVCTCS), said. “Completing the FAFSA is one of the most important steps in pursuing higher education. 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.”

Students can complete the FAFSA anytime after January 1 in the year they intend to go to college. Filing the FAFSA allows students to be considered for the Federal Pell Grant, which this year provided students with up to $5,815 to cover the cost of tuition and other education expenses. Students who file the form before April 15 will also be considered for up to $2,600 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. Students and families can receive free assistance filing the FAFSA and other financial aid forms during CFWV’s upcoming “College Goal Sunday,” event on February 21. During College Goal Sunday, financial aid professionals will be available at 25 locations across the state from 1 to 4 p.m. More information, including a list of locations and what to bring, is available at www.cfwv.com

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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