Detroit Regional Chamber Recognizes Local High Schools for FAFSA Completion Improvements with “Race to the FAFSA Line” Challenge

As part of the Detroit Drives Degrees (D3) initiative, which aims to improve regional postsecondary outcomes, the Detroit Regional Chamber today announced winners of its Student Aid Challenge for Southeast Michigan, “Race to the FAFSA Line,” at the Talent Outlook D3 breakfast at the Detroit Athletic Club.

Despite the hard work of school counselors and local college access networks last year, Michigan students left more than $90 million of federal aid on the table by not filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). According to the National College Access Network, high school graduates who complete FAFSA are 63 percent more likely to enroll in college.

The goal of the challenge was to increase FAFSA completion among high school seniors in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties to 60 percent by July 1, 2017. This year, the challenge and a variety of other efforts boosted regional FAFSA completion to 48 percent through March 3, compared to 38 percent through the same date one year ago.

The challenge was a collaborative effort involving partners such as the Michigan College Access Network, Detroit College Access Network, Emagine Entertainment, Oakland Schools, Wayne RESA, and several local college access networks.

More than 85 schools throughout Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties registered for the competition. 2017 winners included:

  • Grand Prize Winner: Overall Most Improved FAFSA Completion: Trillium Academy – 37 percent improvement since 2016 (Taylor)
  • Most Improved FAFSA Completion for Medium Schools: South Lake High School – 8 percent improvement since 2016 (St. Clair Shores)
  • Most Improved FAFSA Completion for Large Schools: Western International High School – 8 percent improvement since 2016 (Detroit)
  • Most Innovative FAFSA Completion Strategy: Cornerstone Health & Technology High School – 20 percent improvement since 2016 (Detroit)
  • Highest Overall FAFSA Completion Rate: University High School Academy – 91 percent FAFSA completion rate (Southfield)

As grand prize winner, Trillium Academy will be awarded an all-night senior class party and the four other winners will receive VIP movie screenings, courtesy of Emagine Entertainment.

About the Detroit College Access Network

The Detroit College Access Network (DCAN) is the coordinating body of cross-sector leaders and organizations in Detroit working together to ensure all Detroit students have the opportunity to attend college. Specifically, DCAN serves as the citywide coordinating body for the college access and enrollment strategy at Excellent Schools Detroit. It is a network of organizations – bigger than any one program or initiative – leveraging a collective impact model to align and connect existing programs, schools, businesses and community resources to improve college enrollment and graduation rates for all Detroit students.

About Detroit Drives Degrees

Detroit Drives Degrees (D3) is a catalyst for postsecondary degree attainment in the Detroit region, which is critical to achieving economic prosperity. The goals are to increase access to postsecondary education, improve postsecondary graduation success rates, and retain and attract graduate talent in the region.

About Emagine Entertainment, Inc

Emagine Entertainment’s affiliates own and operate luxury theatres in Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota. Emagine operates theatres with a combined 30,000 seats and 217 screens. Emagine has led the way in bringing luxury theatres to the metropolitan Detroit market with 76 of its 94 auditoriums already converted to power recliner seats. Emagine enjoys the honor and distinction of being named “Best Movie Theatre” for several years running by the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit News, and WDIV television. Emagine is a recognized innovator in the theatrical exhibition industry having been the first theatre chain in the world to convert to 100% digital projection.

About the Michigan College Access Network

The Michigan College Access Network’s mission is to increase college readiness, participation and completion in Michigan, particularly among low-income, first-generation college going students, and students of color. They are a member of the National College Access Network.