As the Class of 2024 prepares for their next steps after high school, these seniors are applying for financial aid to cover the cost of postsecondary education and training. Unique to this class is a newly revised Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form that has presented a series of unintended challenges. While the purpose of the revamped FAFSA was to streamline the financial aid application process, the rollout of the updated federal form was not only delayed but also characterized by technical glitches that are continuing to prevent some families from having a seamless experience.

While Federal Student Aid works to gradually resolve issues with the form, educators have diligently supported families as they navigate these less-than-ideal circumstances. Uncharted issues have caused educators to pivot and bring in additional support to ensure students secure the aid they need. However, certain FAFSA completion strategies remain effective and reliable each year. Since Alabama added completion of the FAFSA to the graduation checklist in 2021, educators have continued to invest in FAFSA strategies that are both universal and tailored to their specific student population.

The Alabama Goes to College Campaign annually recognizes high schools with the highest FAFSA completion rates and the greatest FAFSA improvement rates. The following case study highlights our 2022-23 award winners and their most successful practices for promoting FAFSA completion. While schools in the case study experienced their remarkable success prior to the issues associated with the updated FAFSA form, we hope these strategies and tips can be utilized to meet the demands of this challenging FAFSA cycle.

Featured schools:
Sweet Water High School – Extra Small School MVP
Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School – Small School MVP
Lee High School (Huntsville City) – Medium School MVP
Hewitt-Trussville High School – Large School MVP
Central High School (Phenix City) – Extra Large School MVP

Central High School (Hayneville) – Most Improved Extra Small School
Madison County Virtual Academy – Most Improved Small School
Citronelle High School – Most Improved Medium School
Alma Bryant High School – Most Improved Large School
Central High School (Phenix City) – Most Improved Extra Large School