The 2018-19 FAFSA Completion Challenge

The New York FAFSA Completion Project is a statewide campaign to encourage public high schools to increase the proportion of eligible low-income students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to qualify for federal and state college financial aid programs. Based on successful efforts in other states, the FAFSA Completion Challenge is designed to positively recognize high schools for high FAFSA completion rates and for improvements in FAFSA completion rates.

Based on data available as of June 1, 2019, awards will be issued in the following categories:

  • Highest estimated FAFSA completion rate for high schools with at least 100 students enrolled in grade 12;
  • Highest estimated FAFSA completion rate for high schools with fewer than 100 students enrolled in grade 12;
  • Greatest year-to-year improvement in FAFSA completion rate for high schools with at least 100 students enrolled in grade 12; and
  • Greatest year-to-year improvement in FAFSA completion rate for high schools with fewer than 100 students enrolled in grade 12.

Each award will consist of $750 granted to the winning high school for the purpose of awarding a scholarship to one of its students.

A total of 12 awards will be made, one in each category within the following geographic areas:

  • Schools located in New York City;
  • Schools located in the Big 4 (Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Yonkers); and
  • Schools located in the rest of the state.

Additional eligibility criteria are:

  • All public high schools (district-run and charter schools) are eligible to participate.
  • The school must enroll a minimum of 50% of students who are classified as “economically disadvantaged” in 2018-19, according to Preliminary BEDS day enrollment data published by the New York State Education Department.
  • The school must have a minimum of 20 students enrolled in grade 12 in 2018-19, according to Preliminary BEDS day enrollment data published by the New York State Education Department.
  • The school’s estimated FAFSA completion rate in 2018-19 must be no less than the average for similar schools, as defined in the data note.
  • If a school declines to participate, the next highest-ranked school will be selected.
  • In the case of a tie, the school with the higher(est) share of low-income students will be selected.

Please contact fafsa@edtrustny.org with any questions.