National College Access Network: How three cities plan to boost FAFSA completion


In May, NCAN announced the 22 U.S. cities we chose 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.

Two significant changes to the FAFSA coming this fall 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.

Our nearly two dozen grantees are already thinking big, as evidenced by their applications for the funding. College access advocates in Charleston, West Virginia [emphasis added]; Bakersfield, California and Detroit, Michigan — the location of our upcoming national conference — exemplify just a few of the exciting ways in which communities are creating broad partnerships to increase FAFSA completion rates, ultimately helping more low-income and underrepresented students apply to, enter and succeed in college.

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