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New York City’s Pan American International High School at Monroe begins collecting the documents students will need to complete the FAFSA in April of their junior year.

Staff members at the school then meet with students and parents throughout the summer to create their online account. The school also holds multiple financial aid workshops for students and parents throughout the year so they can know what to expect throughout the process. Parents are contacted both via robocalls and by staff members when their children do not bring their documents on time.

The school also provides students and parents with a flyer that includes pictures of everything the school needs to help them complete the FAFSA.

Cristina, who will receive the FAFSA Challenge scholarship, came to the United States at the age of 15 to meet her parents for the first time, leaving her grandparents behind in Ecuador.

“This decision was difficult for me, but during these four years I found that in this country I have more opportunities to getting a better education for my future and more support for my family,” she said.

Cristina has a passion for math, and wants to use those skills in a career as an accountant.

“I want to fulfill the dreams that my parents cannot fulfill,” she said.

Cristina plans to attend Borough of Manhattan Community College and study accounting.

The school won the Challenge for having the highest completion rate among high schools with less than 100 seniors in New York City.

The Challenge was part of The New York FAFSA Completion Project, a statewide campaign launched by Ed Trust–NY to encourage public high schools to increase the proportion of eligible low-income students who complete the FAFSA.

Explore data for each high school in the state, read more about FAFSA completion strategies being used at New York schools, and find additional resources at NYFAFSAChallenge.org.