May 31, 2016
Contact: Endi Hartigan, Communications and Policy Specialist | 971-701-4032 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Lori Ellis, ASPIRE & Outreach Administrator, OSAC, HECC | 541-687-7471 | email@example.com
Eugene, Oregon | The Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) is pleased to announce that the HECC Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC) is expanding its FAFSA Plus+ program, a successful initiative to increase completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) among high school seniors. OSAC is expanding the program with a call for applications among high schools and partners statewide.
The FAFSA Plus+ program currently operates at more than 110 schools and sites across the state, providing schools with key data and resources they need to target outreach efforts and proactively support students in completing the FAFSA. Educators at FAFSA Plus+ sites are able to see exactly which students have completed the FAFSA, so that volunteers and staff can provide targeted assistance. Sites also offer personalized services and events, such as College Goal Oregon, financial aid nights, senior parent nights, financial literary and scholarship resources, parent communications, and more. In the words of one FAFSA Plus+ site representative, Yvonne VonHolle of Logos Public Charter School, “The FAFSA Plus+ report gave our staff [and] administration an edge we didn’t have before.”
Schools and partners interested in improving their FAFSA completion rates are invited to join this exciting effort. OSAC is currently accepting applications for new FAFSA Plus+ sites, and encourages school districts, high schools, TRIO programs, Tribal Education Agencies, Indian Organizations, and community-based organizations to complete the non-competitive application here.
The FAFSA Plus+ program expansion was funded by legislative investments in Senate Bill 5701 (2016), after recommendations from a work group for Senate Bill 418 (2015). In addition, this month, Oregon was awarded a FAFSA Completion Challenge Grant of $52,000 from the National College Access Network (NCAN) which will allow OSAC to launch a targeted FAFSA completion effort in the Portland metropolitan area in partnership with All Hands Raised, the College Place, and other Portland partners.
In 2016, Oregon leads the nation in increasing the number of high school seniors who completed the FAFSA, but Oregon’s rate of completion remains slightly below the national average, underscoring the importance of these efforts. Bob Brew, director of OSAC, said “We look forward to building on the exciting momentum and success we are seeing right in Oregon to further increase FAFSA completion rates, and to help more Oregon students access the benefits they need to succeed in their college goals.”