OKEECHOBEE- Seniors at Okeechobee High School have the highest percentage increase in completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Seniors at OHS showed an increase of 9.5 percent in completing the student aid application compared to last year, making Okeechobee one of the winners of the 2021 Florida FAFSA Challenge, a statewide campaign to increase the proportion of high school seniors completing FAFSA.
“We are proud to see so many schools embrace the FAFSA Challenge and exceed the statewide goal,” said Charleita M. Richardson, Florida College Access Network (FCAN) Executive Director. “Given the negative impact COVID-19 has had on our ability to support students during the FAFSA process, we want to commend every school and district in the state for their work to increase FAFSA completions.”
The Florida FAFSA Challenge encourages schools and districts to increase FAFSA completion by 5 percentage points compared to the previous year.
Districts and schools in Miami-Dade, Pinellas, St. Johns, Gulf, Volusia, Hillsborough, and Okeechobee counties won top honors as the highest performers.
Even before COVID-19, 83% of Florida college students relied on federal, state, and institutional financial aid, but many Florida students who could qualify for financial aid do not receive it because they do not complete the FAFSA.
According to FCAN, in the 2019 – 2020 school year, Florida ranked 5th in the nation for the proportion of students who qualified for a Pell grant, but only 32nd for the proportion of students who completed the FAFSA.
FCAN’s goal with the FAFSA Challenge is to recognize communities and schools who help more students complete the FAFSA and get access to necessary financial aid.