For a unified effort to help students apply for federal money that will benefit them after they graduate from high school, Vancouver earned recognition in the National College Access Network’s 2018-19 FAFSA Completion Challenge. Vancouver Public Schools is one of 25 organizations from across the U.S. that was honored for helping boost its high school seniors’ Free Application for Federal Student Aid completion rates by 5 percent or more.

After just one month, VPS seniors completed their FAFSAs at a rate that is 10 percent above the rate of all seniors in Washington state. As of Nov. 1, Vancouver Flex Academy led the way in the district with a 43 percent completion rate. Seniors at Vancouver Flex Academy, Vancouver iTech Preparatory and Skyview and Columbia River high schools have completion rates that are more than double that of all seniors in Washington.

Schools will continue to encourage students to apply through the end of June 2019. Seniors can use the money to enroll in job training programs, trade schools or colleges.

As a FAFSA Completion Challenge semifinalist, VPS received a $40,000 grant and is now in the running to receive a $100,000 grand prize in September 2019.