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Michigan College Access Network recognizes the great work of schools, colleges, college access programs, and communities across the state to move Michigan closer to our goal of Sixty by 30 — to increase the percentage of Michigan residents with postsecondary certificates and degrees to 60 percent by the year 2030. There's a direct correlation between FAFSA completion and immediate college enrollment. For most students, FAFSA completion provides a gateway to college by opening the door to the federal aid, state aid, institutional scholarships, and often community-based scholarships that makes postsecondary education more affordable.

MCAN is looking to fund community-based, FAFSA-focused initiatives targeted at moving the needle on FAFSA completions for the class of 2022. This proposal should be submitted with an understanding that the expectation is for immediate implementation. This is a competitive grant that will be available on a rolling basis until funding is depleted. Applicants may request up to $5,000.


CONTEXT AND NEED

FAFSA completion, and subsequently college enrollment, has dropped significantly during the pandemic. The high school class of 2021 alone left an estimated $90 million in Pell Grants on the table by not completing the FAFSA last year. Again this year, FAFSA completion rates continue to lag behind the previous cycle. As of early 2022, Michigan’s FAFSA completion rate is 2% behind, representing about 2,000 students.

Michigan can put postsecondary education within reach for more students by helping them access the financial aid for which they are eligible. This is particularly true for students who face historical and structural inequities, including students of color and low-income students. The FAFSA is the only way to unlock the Pell Grant, other federal financial aid, all state financial aid, and most institutional and community-based financial aid. We know that completing the FAFSA is a vital step to getting students to college in the fall. Ninety percent (90%) of high school seniors who complete the FAFSA immediately enroll in postsecondary education programs, compared to 50% of those who do not complete the FAFSA.


GRANT AWARD

FAFSA Completion Grants will fund programming to increase FAFSA completion rates for the class of 2022 across the state through grants of up to $5,000. Matching funds are not required. Eligible applicants include high schools, career tech centers, community-based organizations, and higher education institutions. These grants are not intended to be renewable or to offer long-term funding for a program. MCAN staff will work with grantees to help design sustainability plans for programming if desired.


TIMELINE

FAFSA Completion Grants will be available on a rolling basis until allocated funding is depleted. Grant applications should be submitted with an expectation of immediate implementation. No-cost extensions may be considered on a case-by-case basis upon request of a grantee.


APPLICATION ASSISTANCE

You are encouraged to contact MCAN to inquire about eligibility and to request technical assistance. Please contact Kiersten Nolan, strategy assistant for high school innovation, at kiersten@micollegeaccess.org or 517-316-1713 for assistance with your application or for help with the online application portal.


VIRTUAL INFORMATION SESSION

MCAN recently hosted a webinar for potential FAFSA Completion Grant applicants, where our High School Innovation staff answered questions about the application process and discussed promising FAFSA completion strategies.

Watch the recording →


APPLYING FOR FUNDING

Proposals are only accepted using Michigan College Access Network’s online grants system, SurveyMonkey Apply. To apply for an FAFSA Completion Grant, visit mcan.smapply.org/prog/FAFSA.

If you would like to review the online application components, you are welcome to review this document. You cannot submit the application using this PDF; it is provided for review purposes only.


AWARD PROCESS

MCAN staff will review proposals and provide written feedback. Final decisions regarding awards will be contingent upon the recommendations of the staff and available funds. MCAN is committed to reviewing grants and providing a response to applicants in 30 days or less. Please adjust your application schedule to accommodate this review timetable.


FUNDED PROPOSALS

To provide further support for applicants who are curious about the scope of work intended for FAFSA Completion Grants, MCAN is providing the following examples of funded proposals:

  • Mason CAN and Oceana CAN: FAFSA “Friendly Faces” Training  Mason and Oceana College Access Networks will offer a FAFSA completion train-the-trainer event for community-based professionals and service providers. The goal of the event is to train up to 40 people as FAFSA completion coaches in Mason and Oceana counties. Each coach will leave training with an agreement to help at least two current high school seniors in their community with FAFSA filing.
  • Alpena High School/ACES Academy: FAFSA Alpena Campaign — Alpena High School staff will offer individual FAFSA completion appointments for every 12th grade student and 13th year, early college student. Students and their guardian(s) will meet with counseling staff and an AdviseMI adviser in the school's media center to complete their FAFSA and will be provided with a computer and internet access. The first 100 students and families that complete a FAFSA will receive a gift card.
  • Jalen Rose Leadership Academy: FAFSA Workshops — Jalen Rose Leadership Academy will work to increase FAFSA completion rates for the class of 2022 by incentivizing the process for ALL stakeholders, including; scholars, families, and staff. The Academy plans to host a series of six FAFSA workshops in the evening that will provide scholars and families with dinner and computer access. Funding will also support incentives for scholars and Academy staff.