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Brevard Recognized for Highest FAFSA Completion

May 9, 2023 - The Brevard County school district was recently honored at the 2023 Talent Strong Florida Summit as a winner of the 2023 Florida FAFSA Challenge, a statewide campaign to increase the proportion of high school seniors completing the FAFSA.

Brevard was recognized for having the highest FAFSA completion rate of high school seniors in a large size school district. This award follows last year’s recognition for being 2022’s “Most Improved” large school district with the highest increase in FAFSA completion from the year prior.

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a form that provides students access to federal, state and local financial aid. This includes loans, work-study, private scholarships, and grants including the Federal Pell Grant, which is awarded to students with exceptional need and does not have to be repaid.

According to the National College Attainment Network, Florida’s Class of 2022 left an estimated $313 million dollars in Pell Grants on the table that could have been used for furthering their education. “FAFSA completion is a critical piece of the college enrollment process,” said Christine Tripp, EFSC’s Associate Dean of Transition Services. “Students who complete the FAFSA are more likely to not only enroll in college, but more importantly, complete their degree.”

Eastern Florida State College has proudly served Brevard County public and private school students and families with assistance in completing the FAFSA every school year. The most prominent effort is the “Go Higher, Get Accepted” campaign which has grown since its inception in 2012.

Annually, nearly 1,000 high school seniors receive support with starting and completing their online financial aid application. Several key enrollment departments from EFSC visit Brevard schools to assist students on-site with hands-on support.

FAFSA group
Photo from left to right: Christine Tripp, EFSC Associate Dean of Transition Services, Dr. Synthia Doaks, Elevate Brevard Director, Paula Bewerse, BPS College & Career Readiness Resource Teacher, Myron Campbell EFSC College & Career Outreach Specialist

“It’s truly a collaborative effort between EFSC’s Outreach, Admissions, Financial Aid, and Advising teams, in partnership with school counselors, administrators and staff,” said Myron Campbell, EFSC’s College & Career Outreach Specialist, who has coordinated this initiative for over five years.

For the 2022-23 school year, EFSC hosted two well attended FAFSA nights in the fall and visited 19 area high schools this spring for “Go Higher, Get Accepted,” serving over 900 high school seniors to date.

Collaboration also reached new heights this school year with the launch of the 321 FAFSA Liftoff initiative led by United Way of Brevard in partnership with Brevard Public Schools (BPS), Elevate Brevard, and EFSC.

United Way provided incentives in the form of mini grants to nine BPS high schools that had a five-year average of under 50% completion. These efforts were also supported by various local nonprofit organizations such as Leadership Brevard, which championed FAFSA completion as a part of its annual Community Acceleration Project.

Volunteers served in various roles such as assisting students and families, collecting data, and promoting the free financial aid application.

“Receiving an award for the highest completion rate in the state is evidence that great things can happen when efforts are coordinated,” added Tripp. “The partnership here in Brevard amongst organizations who share the same goal is exceptional.”

Learn more about local and state FAFSA initiatives at the following: