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Queens Technical High School follows the New York City Department of Education’s College Access for All annual calendar. They begin their push for FAFSA completion during financial aid month in November. Students and families can attend after-school FAFSA completion events and get help from the college counselor during weekly sessions at all lunch periods.

The school also tracks students through a database program and through the state’s student financial aid agency, the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC). Students are privately notified of any incomplete applications and FAFSA errors, and they can also receive assistance after-school through a partnership with Sunnyside Community Services.

Queens Tech also provides students with resources and materials at all school events pertaining to post-secondary education. The school tries to prepare students before their senior year. As juniors, the college counselor provides basic knowledge of financial aid through college readiness classroom push-ins and smaller lunch groups.

Nicole, who will receive the FAFSA Challenge scholarship, will be the first in her family to attend college and she will enroll in CUNY Hunter College in the Fall, bringing in nine college credits from her College Now classes. Nicole has been a determined young lady and will begin her degree in biology. Her long-term goal is to attend veterinary school and advocate for animals that do not have a voice. She has been a valued member of the school community, participating in activities such as the senior yearbook committee and contributing to the student newspaper.

As a cosmetology student, Nicole has also participated in community service events and is a candidate for the NYS licensing exam. Nicole proudly looks back on sophomore year and although it was a tough one where she experienced bullying, she decided to persevere and not let anything stop her as she worked hard to meet her dream of attending college. She was one of the first students to complete both the FAFSA and TAP application, again showing her commitment to her education and her future.

The school won the Challenge for having the highest completion rate among high schools with more 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.