Arizona issues statewide FAF$A Challenge to boost completion rate - AZEdNews
Sections    Friday March 24th, 2023

Arizona issues statewide FAF$A Challenge to boost completion rate

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  • Megan Wahl & Gary Campbell   |   Davidson/Belluso

Arizona Fafsa Challenge Logo

For the second straight year, more than 400 public high schools in Arizona are participating in the FAF$A Challenge.

The statewide initiative is aiming to raise the completion rate of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) among Arizona high school seniors to 52 percent.

The FAF$A Challenge, which runs through the end of June 2020, encourages friendly competition among the participating high schools and offers monthly recognition and prizes, based upon their students’ FAFSA completion rate during the school year.

The FAF$A Challenge is a partnership of the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education, the Arizona Governor’s Office of Education, Achieve 60AZ and the Governor’s FAFSA Completion Coalition.

The goal for this year is a 52 percent overall completion rate among high school seniors. The class of 2019 in Arizona had an overall completion rate of 47 percent.

The larger mission for the effort is to increase the amount of aid provided to students, ultimately helping more students find a pathway to some form of higher education.

In the class of 2018 alone, more than 18,000 Arizona students who were eligible for $3,900 in Pell Grant funding failed to complete the FAFSA. In total, more than $65 million was left on the table for Arizona students.

“As a state, our students are missing out on millions of dollars in potential student aid,” says April L. Osborn, Executive Director of the Commission for Postsecondary Education.

“Filing a FAFSA correctly and on time has a direct impact on the number of Arizona students that can afford to pursue higher education. Moreover, each added graduate attaining a bachelor’s degree adds $600,000 over a lifetime to the state’s economy,” Osborn said.

This year’s Challenge builds on the successful inaugural effort of the event. In the first year of the Challenge, schools throughout the state made coordinated and novel efforts to increase student interest and participation.

For 2019-2020, the Challenge increases the number of monthly rewards that schools can earn with recognition for the most innovative approaches.

At the end of the Challenge, schools will be recognized for the greatest overall improvement and the highest overall completion rates.

“FAFSA is an easy but highly necessary part of the college application process,” says FAF$A Challenge Project Manager Julie Sainz. “The FAF$A Challenge is a fun way to encourage Arizona high schools to assist their seniors with the application. We don’t want any student to miss out on the opportunity for financial aid that can help get them to and through college.”

On average, it only takes an estimated 30 minutes to complete the FAFSA with the required information, including parents’ identification, social security, tax and income records.

By helping a high school senior complete the FAFSA you are helping them find free money for higher education.

Learn more about the FAFSA and track Arizona’s progress at

Media Contact: Gary Campbell, 602-319-7676,

About Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education

The Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education’s mission is to expand access and increase success in postsecondary education. The Commission offers the Arizona Family College Savings Program, administers student financial aid programs, hosts College Goal FAFSA and College Application Campaigns, as well as numerous other postsecondary education initiatives. For more information on the Commission visit