For the third consecutive year, College Possible Philadelphia has partnered with the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) to help students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) during the 2018-19 school year. Through this district-wide FAFSA Completion Challenge, College Possible Philadelphia’s college coaches provide financial aid coaching to seniors at A. Philip Randolph Career and Technical High School.
The FAFSA Completion Challenge began three years ago with the implementation of the SDP’s Action Plan 3.0 that aims to have 100 percent of graduating students prepared for college or a career. The National College Access Network (NCAN) released a report in October 2018 that found FAFSA completion rates for 2017-18 remained on par with completion rates from 2016-17. Originally projected to have a completion rate of 53 percent for the 2017-18 school year, SDP achieved a 65 percent completion rate. This increase can be attributed to the district’s effort to form partnerships with thought leaders and financial aid experts in the greater Philadelphia area, including College Possible Philadelphia.
As a part of the ongoing partnership with SDP, College Possible Philadelphia’s college coaches, led by Senior Program Coordinator Jose Rodriguez, offer expertise on the college admission and financial aid process during sessions at Randolph Career & Technical High School twice per month. During these sessions, Rodriguez and his team work with 20 to 25 students from a targeted list provided by the school’s guidance counselor. “Having College Possible coming to Randolph to help with the FAFSA completion has been a tremendous support,” says Randolph Guidance Counselor Vandrea Sepulvida Ferreira.
“Once again, College Possible Philadelphia is proud to partner with the School District of Philadelphia surrounding FAFSA completion. As the cost of college continues to rise, the FAFSA is a critical component for students to secure much needed financial aid to make the cost of attending and persisting through to college graduation obtainable,” says Executive Director Jen Weikert. Along with the weekly sessions at Randolph, College Possible Philadelphia attended a PhillyGoes2College pop-up event in October and a college fair hosted by Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) in November, to answer financial aid questions and provide support to students and families around the steps students should be taking to reduce the cost of college. These events and the partnership at Randolph are another part of the organization’s multifaceted plan to help more students complete the FAFSA and have the tools and resources they need to afford college.
By Ian Reitz