Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) is making major strides in educating its students about their postsecondary options by improving FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) completion rates.
Shortridge High School, Crispus Attucks High School, and Simon Youth Academy met or exceeded the Commission for Higher Education (CHE) goal of 60% FAFSA completion.
This year, the CHE set their FAFSA completion goal at 60% by April 15 for the state priority filing deadline. Filing the FAFSA is a requirement for 21st Century Scholars and opens postsecondary education funding access for all students.
Austin Dodd,the director of IPS Academies & Pathways, said that to support FAFSA filing, IPS dedicates significant resources to support students and families through the process, including guidance from such as school counselors, Future Center associates, JAG specialists, and Elevate mentors.
IPS’ extensive and interactive dashboard allows student services staff to drill down into student-level data to check on FAFSA filing status, he said.
As of June 11, 2023, 55.51% of IPS seniors filed the FAFSA and 21.07% of students and families opted out. Indiana’s FAFSA filing rate was 45.52% and Marion County’s FAFSA filing rate was 37.7%.
The class of 2024 will have a CHE FAFSA goal of 65%. Starting next school year, Indiana students will be required to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Dodd noted that throughout the remainder of the summer, summer counselors have been hired and Future Centers will be staffed with associates to support graduating seniors who are in pursuit of their postsecondary goals, including filing the FAFSA for college.
IPS Future Centers will host a joint Cohort 2024 Senior Jumpstart event from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 28 on the campus of Ivy Tech Community College, 2535 N. Capitol Ave. The event will allow rising seniors the opportunity to learn about postsecondary activities that take place during the senior year of high school. These include filing the FAFSA, early college application deadlines, writing scholarships requests, and other projects.
“If students and families are interested in attending, they should reach out to their school’s Future Center,” Dodd said.