Skip to main content

Gov. Whitmer recognizes 13 Michigan high schools for outstanding 2020 FAFSA completion rates

Governor Gretchen Whitmer holding microphone, speaking at podium

April 16, 2020, LANSING, Mich. — Thirteen Michigan high schools that produced outstanding FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) completion rates by March 1 have been recognized by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan College Access Network.

 The College Cash Campaign, a FAFSA completion initiative from the Michigan College Access Network, ran from Nov. 1 through March 1. During that time, 49,128 FAFSAs were filed by 2020 graduating seniors in nearly 400 participating Michigan high schools.

 As of April 15, the state FAFSA completion rate was 49.1%, up nearly one percentage point from this same time in 2019. Filing the FAFSA is considered a leading indicator of whether students will pursue college. According to the National College Attainment Network (NCAN), 90% of high school seniors who complete the FAFSA attend college directly from high school, compared to 50% of non-completers.

 The three high schools with the largest annual growth in FAFSA completions in Michigan each received a $10,000 cash award for their outstanding efforts:

Central Academy

  • Location: Ann Arbor, MI
  • School Size: Small
  • % increase in FAFSAs completed: 44%

Hazel Park High School

  • Location: Hazel Park, MI
  • School Size: Medium
  • % increase in FAFSAs completed: 23%

Niles High School 

  • Location: Niles, MI
  • School Size: Medium
  • % increase in FAFSAs completed: 26%

In addition, those schools will receive a visit from the governor or lieutenant governor in the fall.

“I want to congratulate all of the schools that exceeded their FAFSA completion goal and every student who filled out their form,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “Every student deserves a path to a quality, affordable postsecondary education, and filling out FAFSA forms can make an enormous difference for families across the state. I also want to thank MCAN for their partnership. I look forward to working with them as we ensure students across the state have access to a postsecondary education.”

An additional 10 schools were recognized for the highest completion rate in their region. The top school in 10 geographic regions in Michigan are:             

  • Pickford High School  in Pickford, MI
  • Johannesburg-Lewiston High School  in Johannesburg, MI
  • St. Patrick Catholic School in Portland, MI
  • All Saints Central High School in Bay City, MI
  • Harbor Beach Community High School in Harbor Beach, MI
  • J.W. Sexton High School in Lansing, MI
  • Bridgman High School in Bridgman, MI
  • Summerfield High School in Petersburg, MI
  • University High in Ferndale, MI
  • Frontier International Academy in Detroit, MI




In December 2019, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the statewide FAFSA Challenge to increase the number of students completing the FAFSA and scholarship applications. The challenge included partnerships with the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals, State of Michigan Student Scholarships and Grants, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and the Detroit Regional Chamber.

“We are proud of the 40 high schools that exceeded the 75% FAFSA completion goal months ahead of schedule,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, executive director of MCAN. “We encourage schools to use this momentum to continue to achieve and exceed this goal. College can be affordable when students take advantage of federal Pell grants, state aid and institutional aid — most of which require filing the FAFSA.”

 The FAFSA is a free application for students to access federal and state financial aid. It’s used by the federal government, the state of Michigan and colleges to determine eligibility for grants, scholarships and loans. The form determines the amount of money a family is expected to contribute to the price of attending a postsecondary institution.

 Michigan’s final official FAFSA completion rate for the Class of 2020 will be calculated based on FAFSAs filed through June 30. An additional 28,342 high school seniors need to complete their FAFSA by June 30 for Michigan to reach the goal of 75%. As of April 3, the state of Michigan was ranked 17th in the nation for FAFSA completions. FAFSA applications should be filed at




As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN works to improve the futures of Michigan’s students and communities by making college accessible to all. MCAN’s work centers on one main goal: To increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60% by 2030. MCAN engages partners statewide who are committed to systems-level change and the reduction of barriers to increase college readiness, participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college-going students and students of color. MCAN has helped Michigan’s postsecondary attainment rate increase for the 10th consecutive year. For more information, visit



  • Media Contact: Christopher Tremblay 
  • Email:

Three schools received $10,000 in cash awards as part of the governor’s FAFSA Challenge.