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May 19, 2023

Missouri public high schools awarded for FAFSA completion efforts

Twelve public high schools in Missouri are being recognized for helping students plan financially for higher education.

Public high schools throughout the state competed for scholarship prizes as part of the Show-Me FAFSA Challenge, which the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development (MDHEWD) launched in October 2020 to promote completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) among high school seniors.

The competition began Oct. 1, when the 2023-24 FAFSA opened, and ended April 1, the Access Missouri Grant final deadline.

Schools were automatically entered and sorted into three groups based on size. Each group competed for prizes in four categories, including highest completion rate, most improved completion rate, highest percentage of lowest income students filed, and most innovative strategy. Random drawings were held to decide the winners in categories where there were ties. The Missouri Scholarship & Loan Foundation and the Missouri College and Career Attainment Network sponsor the scholarship prizes.

“We are excited to see schools exceed the 60 percent filing goal each year,” said Dr. Bennett Boggs, commissioner of higher education. “Students continue to take this important step toward receiving much-needed financial aid that will help them pursue their desired degree and put them on a path for a successful career.”

Winning high schools include:

Highest Overall Completion:

1-500 students: Prairie Home High School 72.7%
501-1,200 students: KIPP St. Louis High School 42.5%
1,201+ students: Republic High School 35.2%

Most Improved Completion:

1-500 students: Northeast Nodaway High School +25%
501-1,200 students: Jennings High School -1%
1,201+ students: Capital City High School -1.3%

Highest Percentage of Lowest Income Filers:

1-500 students: Southwest High School 100%
501-1,200 students: Jennings High School 100%
1,201+ students: McCluer High School 100%

Most Innovative Strategy:

1-500 students: Highland High School
1,201+ students: Battle High School

Four schools reached the statewide FAFSA filing goal of 60 percent, including Meadville High School, Prairie Home High School, Hume High School, and North Shelby High School. Meadville High School won the overall prize in a random drawing.

Winning schools will designate one of their graduating seniors who will attend a Missouri postsecondary institution this fall as the scholarship recipient.

Free FAFSA virtual events

Filing the FAFSA is often the first step to securing financial aid for college. Students attending college during the 2023-24 academic year will have another chance for free help completing their FAFSA through the Summer FAFSA Frenzy Virtual Office Hours.

MDHEWD will have appointments available throughout June for students to schedule a one-on-one meeting for individual FAFSA assistance.

The Summer FAFSA Frenzy Virtual Office Hours are open to any Missouri student attending or interested in attending a college or university. Attendees should create a Federal Student Aid account at  studentaid.govstudentaid.gov before attending. They will need to bring their login information, Social Security number, 2021 federal tax returns, W-2s, and records of any investments or money earned.

Information about registering for Summer FAFSA Frenzy Virtual Office Hours appointments will be available at https://journeytocollege.mo.gov/pay/file-a-fafsa/fafsa-frenzy/ later this month.

For more information about the competition and to view the FAFSA tracker, visit https://dhewd.mo.gov/ppc/fafsachallenge.php.

For more information about filing the FAFSA, visit https://journeytocollege.mo.gov/pay/file-a-fafsa/.