High school seniors at four Treasure Valley schools are set to compete for a grand prize – and hopefully to take the first step toward the post high school education and careers they want. A Jan. 29 event at Kuna High School is the starting point.
Now is the time for students and families to file the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and gain access to cash for college. To spark student interest, the Treasure Valley Education Partnership (TVEP) has organized “FAFSA Frenzy” events at four local schools.
The school that gets the highest percentage of its students to complete the FAFSA will earn a Senior Day celebration at Wahooz Family Fun Zone.
On Jan. 29, Kuna High School will host the first of eight FAFSA Frenzy events, which are free and open to the public. There will be two similar events at each of the participating schools:
- · Kuna High School: Dinner, 5:30 p.m.; event, 6-8 p.m. Jan. 29 and 6-7:30 p.m. April 3
- · Meridian High School: 6-8 p.m. Feb. 4 and Feb. 10
- · Nampa High School: 6-8 p.m. Feb. 11 and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Feb. 27
- · Mountain Home High School: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Feb. 1 and 5:30-8 p.m. April 2
Completion of the FAFSA is an important first step for students seeking education after high school, but completing the FAFSA can be confusing. Kuna High Principal Karla Reynolds said requirements such as completed tax forms, along with complexities such as divorced families, make for a cumbersome process that many families decide to bypass.
“First and foremost, having an event removes the mystery for those families who have never tackled anything like this before,” Reynolds said. Knowledgeable financial aid advisers will be on hand at FAFSA Frenzy events to help students and parents complete and submit this crucial form.
FAFSA Frenzy was organized by pre-K and postsecondary experts from TVEP, a multisector community partnership that works to help our students succeed and ensure at least 80 percent of Treasure Valley students go on to some form of post high school education by 2016 and beyond.
FAFSA Frenzy is sponsored by the Micron Foundation and United Way of Treasure Valley.
Organizers hope 65 percent will complete FAFSA
FAFSA Frenzy organizers and TVEP leaders are aiming for a 65 percent FAFSA completion rate at the four participating schools. That would be a 14 percent increase from 2011-12, when 52 percent of seniors at those schools completed the FAFSA.
Most colleges and technical schools require students to complete the FAFSA to assess financial need.
“The FAFSA allows both students and parents to recognize their personal family contribution and financial options to access postsecondary opportunities,” said Staci Low of the Meridian School District.
Preparing for the event
Parents and students who attend a FAFSA Frenzy event should plan to spend 30 minutes to an hour there. They need to bring their 2013 income tax returns and/or 2013 W-2 forms, or their 2013 year-end pay stubs and 2012 income tax returns.