Governor Lamont announces 40 high schools selected to participate in 2021-22 Connecticut FAFSA challenge

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03/11/2021

Governor Lamont announces 40 high schools selected to participate in 2021-22 Connecticut FAFSA challenge

New resources will support participating schools in their efforts to improve FAFSA completion rates

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont and Connecticut Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker today announced that 40 high schools in 19 districts across the state will participate in the Connecticut FAFSA Challenge 2021-22, an initiative designed to increase Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion rates, improve access to post-secondary education, and close the opportunity gap among high school students. Participating schools will test innovative strategies to help students and families complete the FAFSA and access resources to support college affordability.

“I am proud to see these schools prioritizing completion of the FAFSA through the FAFSA Challenge and working to increase the number of students who can access financial aid for college and career school,” Governor Lamont said. “It’s a great demonstration of how Connecticut is using federal relief funds to spark new thinking in our schools and help students reach critical milestones at the post-secondary level. “

“We are delighted to continue the FAFSA Challenge this year”, Commissioner Russell-Tucker said. “Over the past year, we’ve seen school communities come together in new and exciting ways to help students and families complete FAFSA and access critical resources to pursue their academic and professional goals. We look forward to building on our momentum this year with our new cohort of schools. “

Through the FAFSA Challenge, schools will receive micro-grants to pursue awareness strategies around the FAFSA and help families complete the application. The FAFSA is of crucial importance in making higher education more accessible to all students, especially historically marginalized populations. More … than 70% of Connecticut jobs require some form of education beyond a high school diploma, and FAFSA completion is one of the best predictors whether older people will pursue higher education. It takes, on average, less than an hour to complete the FAFSA, however the form can be confusing and 45% of seniors in the class of 2021 didn’t finish it, leaving millions of dollars unclaimed in college aid.

Building on the success of the first year of the FAFSA Challenge in 2020-21, the number of schools participating in this year’s FAFSA Challenge has increased, with 14 more schools accepting the challenge of increasing FAFSA completion rates d ‘at least 5 percentage points next June. Last year, schools participating in the FAFSA Challenge collectively increased their completion rates by almost 4 percentage points, while FAFSA completion rates nationwide fell by more than 4% from 2020.

FAFSA Challenge high schools will benefit from new resources to support FAFSA completion efforts in their communities. The State once again joins forces with Connecticut RISE Network, a local non-profit organization, to facilitate a community of practice for schools participating in the FAFSA Challenge. School teams will meet monthly to review data, share promising practices, and engage in collaborative problem solving. Schools will use EdSight FAFSA dashboards to monitor student progress and target support to families.

“Every year we find that completing FAFSA has the power to transform lives,” Emily Pallin, Executive Director of the RISE Network, said. “By completing the FAFSA, students and families can access the resources they deserve to pursue their college dreams. However, we also know that the FAFSA can be intimidating and too many students fail to take this key entry step. Working together as a statewide community, we are excited to once again improve FAFSA completion rates, share promising practices and close access gaps. and opportunities for all Connecticut students.

This year, the Connecticut State Department of Education and RISE Network are partnering with the nonprofit uAspire to offer a series of free, virtual training sessions on the FAFSA for educators and partners in Connecticut. These trainings will be available to all high schools, and details on training dates and registration will be available in the coming weeks. The state is also continuing its partnership with CTCollegeBound to provide FAFSACT.org portal where students and families can register for virtual sessions with financial aid experts to receive personalized support and advice to complement the FAFSA.

High schools participating in the 2021-22 Connecticut FAFSA Challenge include:

  • Ansonia School District, Ansonia High School
  • Bridgeport School District, Bridgeport Military Academy
  • Bridgeport School District, Bassick High School
  • Bridgeport School District, Central High School
  • Bridgeport School District, Warren Harding High School
  • Bristol School District, Bristol Eastern Secondary School
  • Capitol Region Education Council, Civic Leadership High School
  • Connecticut Technical and Career Education System, AI Prince Technical High School
  • Connecticut Technical Education and Career System, Bullard-Havens Technical High School
  • Connecticut Technical Education and Career System, EC Goodwin Technical High School
  • Connecticut Technical and Career Education System, Eli Whitney Technical High School
  • Connecticut Career and Technical Education System, Emmett O’Brien Technical High School
  • Connecticut Technical and Career Education System, HC Wilcox Technical High School
  • Connecticut Technical and Career Education System, Henry Abbott Technical High School
  • Connecticut Technical and Career Education System, Howell Cheney Technical High School
  • Connecticut Technical and Career Education System, JM Wright Technical High School
  • Connecticut Technical Education and Career System, Norwich Technical High School
  • Connecticut Career and Technical Education System, Oliver Wolcott Technical High School
  • Connecticut Technical and Career Education System, Platt Technical High School
  • Connecticut Technical and Career Education System, Vinal Technical High School
  • Connecticut Technical and Career Education System, WF Kaynor Technical High School
  • Connecticut Technical and Career Education System, Windham Technical High School
  • Danbury School District, Danbury High School
  • East Windsor School District, East Windsor High School
  • Enfield School District, Enfield High School
  • Griswold School District, Griswold High School
  • Hartford School District, Hartford Public High School
  • Montville School District, Montville High School
  • New Haven School District, James Hillhouse High School
  • New Haven School District, Wilbur Cross High School
  • New London School District, New London High School
  • Norwalk School District, Brien McMahon High School
  • Norwalk School District, Norwalk High School
  • Norwich Free Academy District, Norwich Free Academy
  • Stamford School District, Westhill High School
  • Torrington School District, Torrington High School
  • Waterbury School District, Crosby High School
  • Waterbury School District, John F. Kennedy Secondary School
  • Waterbury School District, Wilby High School
  • Windham School District, Windham Secondary School

More information about the Connecticut FAFSA Challenge can be found on the Connecticut State Department of Education website at portal.ct.gov/SDE/Performance/FAFSA-Completion.

Twitter: @GovNedLamont
Facebook: Office of Governor Ned Lamont



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