5 Key Takeaways from the Naviance Session at TASA to Increase FAFSA Completion

With the upcoming House Bill 3 changes in the state of Texas on financial aid application requirements for graduation for the 2021-22 school year, many Texas districts are looking for ways to increase student FAFSA/TASFA completion rates.   

At our session at the TASA Midwinter ConferenceImproving Financial Literacy and FAFSA Completion Rateswe shared effective approaches Naviance clients have implemented to improve financial literacy for students and families that drive awareness and FAFSA completion rates. This session was presented by:

Charlie Maynard
Co-founder and CEO of Going Merry  
Suzie Thomas
Senior Enterprise Consultant for Texas, Naviance
Christina Akhavanzadeh
Enterprise Success Manager for Texas, Naviance 

Suzie and Christina have years of experience working for and with Texas school districts as educators and as partners. Charlie is passionate about and has dedicated his work to drive financial literacy and increase financial aid completion rates to ensure more students have college access and affordability. 

If you were unable to attend our session, here are five key takeaways:  

1) Requirements and New Changes: Most of you are aware of HB3 that was signed into law in 2019 which requires students to complete the FAFSA or TASFA application prior to graduation starting SY 2021-22. Students will have an option to submit a signed waiver in lieu of completing the FAFSA application and to our knowledge, a committee is still working on the waiver form.  

2) Current Challenges Schools & Districts May Face: Currently 61% of the class of 2020 completed the FAFSA; the class of 2021 may be less than 50%. The priority deadline for most Texas institutions was January 15 and only 35.5% of the class of 2021 had completed by then. The looming question is, how do we help ensure FAFSA/TASFA completion rates increase next school year?

Only 40% of Texas’ 240,000 low-income eighth-graders enroll in college four years later; the other 60% (at an average Pell grant award of $4,010 per student per year) conservatively represent over $300 million per year per cohort of untapped federal resources available for their post-secondary education.

Texas Commission on Public School Finance

3) How Schools & Districts are Addressing Challenges: Our presenters shared several strategies to help students gain financial literacy and increase FAFSA/TASFA completion rates. A few strategies included partnering with local colleges, create a virtual GO Center, and supporting families through active outreach.

4) How Naviance Can Help: Naviance provides several ways to support student college search and access that impact FAFSA completion. Students can research everything they need to know about a college in Naviance including the cost of tuition, room and board, as well as grant and loan information. Naviance SuperMatch® allows students to help narrow their college search based upon cost, as well as their interest and needs. Many districts are creating FAFSA/TASFA tasks in Naviance for both students and staff to monitor and track completions or waivers.  

5) How Going Merry Can Help: Going Merry helps increase FAFSA completion by making it easy for students to complete a very historically complicated process. Using simpler worded questions (in English or Spanish), visuals to help answer financial/tax questions, live expert help, and real-time stats on student progress, Going Merry makes the financial aid process easy to complete and track. FAFSA completion rates for Going Merry partner schools are up by more than 15% year over year, while the national average is down 10%.   

To learn more about how Naviance can support your district in preparing students to be college, career and military ready, schedule a meeting with a member of our Texas team at Hobsons.com/Texas.  

Complete the form below to watch the full conference session.

Topics College and Career Readiness K 12 Texas
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