40 high schools from 19 districts across the state will participate in the 2021-22 Connecticut FAFSA Challenge, including Danbury. The initiative is designed to increase Free Application for Federal Student Aid completion rates, improve postsecondary access, and close opportunity gaps among high school students. Participating schools will pilot strategies to help students and families complete the FAFSA and access resources to support college affordability.
The schools will receive microgrants in order to build awareness.
Connecticut Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker says FAFSA is critically important in making higher education more attainable for all students, particularly historically marginalized populations. More than 70% of Connecticut jobs require some form of education beyond a high school diploma, and FAFSA completion is one of the best predictors of whether seniors will pursue higher education.
It takes, on average, less than an hour to complete the FAFSA, however the form can be confusing and 45% of seniors in the Class of 2021 did not complete it, leaving millions of unclaimed dollars in college aid. Last year, schools participating in the FAFSA Challenge collectively increased their completion rates by nearly 4 percentage points, while the country’s FAFSA completion rates declined by more than 4% relative to 2020.