Students have a chance to win scholarships once they complete the FAFSA financial aid form
TAMPA, Fla. (April 3, 2018) – LEAP the Tampa Bay College Access Network aims to help more students and parents receive financial aid and make higher education more attainable and affordable by working with its partners to provide assistance with completing the necessary financial aid applications and coordinating scholarship opportunities for students who submit their applications.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in the financial aid process, and determines the amount of money that students are expected to contribute toward their postsecondary education. By working with public schools, LEAP aims to increase the number of high school seniors in Hillsborough County to complete the FAFSA this year. LEAP Tampa Bay recently began partnering with Pinellas County Schools as well.
Hillsborough County high school seniors who complete their FAFSA financial aid form for the 2018-19 year by this Friday, April 6 will be eligible to enter a drawing for a chance to win one of eight $1,000 scholarships from Hillsborough Community College or one of eight $2,000 scholarships from the University of Tampa.
To be considered for one of the scholarships, students will need to bring proof of FAFSA completion to their high school career counselor and advise the counselor that they are interested in attending either HCC and/or the University of Tampa. The deadline for doing so is Friday, April 6.
According to the Florida College Access Network, it is estimated that in 2016 Florida’s high school graduates left behind more than $100 million in Pell Grants alone because they did not fill out the form. Last year’s efforts to increase FAFSA completions resulted in an estimated $20 million more in Pell grants statewide compared to the prior year.
In its first year, LEAP supported Hillsborough County Public Schools in taking the Florida FAFSA Challenge, an initiative which strives to boost the proportion of high school seniors completing the FAFSA by at least five percent over the last school year. Hillsborough County met the challenge with an eight percent increase in FAFSA completion, which meant an estimated $3 million more in Pell grants was available in Hillsborough County compared to the prior year.
Increasing FAFSA completion rates by local seniors was identified by LEAP, along with its 12 founding community partners, as one strategy on the road to seeing 60 percent of Tampa Bay adults holding a college degree or credential by the year 2025.
About LEAP Tampa Bay
LEAP Tampa Bay College Access Network is a cross-sector network of 17 partners convened to promote their community-wide commitment to college access and attainment in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. Using a collective impact model of collaboration, LEAP leadership will guide coordinated need-based strategies by partners from across business, education, government and non-profits, all geared at increasing attainment of high-quality college degrees and credentials to help build Tampa Bay’s workforce talent base. For more information, visit https://www.leaptampabay.org/.