Getting into college is one thing, paying for college is quite another. In Tulsa, Oklahoma a program called Tulsa Achieves covers the cost of earning an associate degree for high school graduates in Tulsa County who maintain at least a 2.0 average and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The problem? Only 52 percent of Tulsa’s 7,000 seniors filled out the FAFSA in 2014.
In collaboration with ImpactTulsa, Stand Oklahoma launched a campaign to increase FAFSA completion numbers by hosting “FAFSA Nights” at high schools within the county. They promoted the events heavily by sending out flyers, coordinating parent volunteer phone-banks, and going door-to door in targeted neighborhoods talking about the program. Students and their families who attended these events received encouragement and support as they took a critical step in the college application process: filling out the FAFSA.
“We know that young people who complete the FAFSA have a higher chance of going to college, especially here in Tulsa, so getting behind this campaign was really a no-brainer,” says Melissa Abdo, City Director at Stand Oklahoma.
(source: Strive Together)
In fact, filling out the FAFSA increases the likelihood that high school seniors from low- to middle-income families will attend college by 30 percent.
Intensive outreach to students and parents allowed “FAFSA Night” events led by Stand for Children to exceed campaign goals. As a result, college-going seniors in Tulsa County who filled out the FAFSA accessed $785,000 more in college aid than students in 2014. With the FAFSA completed and access to financial support through federal loans and grants, students can look forward to meeting the challenges and opportunities of college ahead.