Get2College Helping Boost FAFSA Completion Rate in Jackson Public School District
FAFSA Completion Rate Has Increased by 15 Percent through Activities Funded by a Grant from the Kresge Foundation and National College Access Network
JACKSON, MS. – Get2College, a program that provides counseling and support services on college admission and financial aid throughout Mississippi, has helped boost the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion rate among seniors in the Jackson Public School District (JPS) by more than 15 percent this year. Jackson was one of twenty-two cities in the nation to receive a FAFSA Completion Challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation and the National College Access Network (NCAN).
The goal of the challenge grants is to strengthen urban higher education ecosystems by raising FAFSA completion rates among high school seniors in cities across the country. Kresge made a $1.6 million grant to launch the program, which challenges the winning cities to increase FAFSA completion rates by at least 5 percent for the graduating high school class of 2017.
As the flagship program of the Woodward Hines Education Foundation (WHEF), Get2College is a central component to the organization’s efforts to increase college access and entry for young people in Mississippi and support promising practices that lead to college persistence and completion.
“We are tremendously excited because we have already surpassed our initial goal of increasing the FAFSA completion rate in JPS high schools by 15 percent,” said Ann Hendrick, Director of the Get2College program. “But more than that, we are excited because students who complete a FAFSA are almost twice as likely to go to college after they graduate.
Get2College partnered with College Countdown Mississippi which is a collaboration of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL), Mississippi Department of Education (MDE), the Community College Board, and the State Office of Financial Aid. Other local organizations such as the Mississippi Association of College Registrars and Admission Officers (MACRAO), Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, the City of Jackson and Leadership Greater Jackson, sponsored by the Greater Jackson Chamber, helped to create a college culture by providing workshops, hosting college application and signing days, and promoting FAFSA completion via social media.
“I am extremely proud of the increase in participation of the FAFSA program by our high school seniors,” said JPS Interim Superintendent Dr. Fredrick Murray. “This partnership provides excellent services for our senior students and parents as they seek funding and admission to institutions of higher learning.”
Get2College has several activities planned to increase FAFSA completions among JPS seniors prior to the June 30 deadline, including FAFSA Completion Days scheduled at local high schools.
“By increasing access to college and providing the resources and support students need to graduate, we are helping Mississippi become more competitive in the region and more attractive to potential residents and businesses,” said Jim McHale, President and CEO of WHEF. “The collaborative efforts that have made this work in Jackson Public Schools so successful is a model that can be replicated to improve access, completion, and persistence in institutions of higher learning across the state.”