The Kresge Foundation in Troy, Michigan, has announced a $1.6 million grant to the National College Access Network for a competition aimed at supporting the efforts of U.S. cities to raise Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion rates.
The 2016-17 FAFSA Completion Challenge Grant Initiative will award grants of up to $55,000 to twenty cities in support of projects focused on improving FAFSA completion rates by at least 5 percent for the 2017 high school graduating class. The challenge is open to the hundred largest cities in the nation by population, as well as eighteen cities in states without a city in the top one hundred.
With Kresge's support, NCAN also will award three to five prizes totaling $300,000 in September 2017 to standouts from the twenty-city cohort. The awards will target cities that demonstrate the greatest percentage growth in high school FAFSA completions for the class of 2017, compared to the class of 2015; the highest high school FAFSA completion rate for the class of 2017; and the most innovative or collaborative FAFSA completion strategy and/or partnership with postsecondary institutions.
"When students complete a FAFSA, they are almost twice as likely to go on to college right after high school," said Bill Moses, managing director of Kresge's Education program. "We also know cities that focus on FAFSA completion by working across the urban higher education ecosystem can see real traction in a short time. We hope this challenge pushes new cities to take on that collaborative, cross-sector work and make an immediate positive impact on high school graduates who go on to college."