Tennessee Higher Education Commission launches the TN FAFSA Challenge


High School Seniors who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are more likely to enroll in higher education, persist in their college coursework, and obtain a degree.
That is why the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (THEC/TSAC) have launched the inaugural TN FAFSA Challenge in order to increase the FAFSA completion rate among students in Tennessee and to open the door to scholarships, grants and other forms of financial aid that can kick-start college and career success.
THEC is teaming with Tennessee Promise partnering with The Ayers Foundation, tnAchieves, high school counselors and many others to encourage high schools to participate in the challenge and promote FAFSA completion by the Tennessee Promise deadline of Feb. 1, 2022.
“Completing a FAFSA opens the door for thousands of dollars in state and federal financial aid for Tennessee’s students,” said Dr. Emily House, executive director of THEC and TSAC. “Our goal is that every eligible Tennessee high school senior has the opportunity to complete a FAFSA, especially before the Tennessee Promise deadline of Feb. 1.”
Schools are able to track their progress, and see the progress of other high schools across the state using the data visualization map created and shared by THEC, along with a variety of other student support resources, at CollegeforTN.org.
High schools competing in the TN FAFSA Challenge have the opportunity to be recognized for outstanding achievement in three categories: Highest completion rate, most improved completion rate compared to the previous year, and FAFSA Champion. Schools will compete in the Challenge with schools of similar size.
There are two ways a high school can earn FAFSA Champion status:
Increase their Tennessee Promise applicant FAFSA completion rate by five percentage points or more compared to the previous academic year as of the Tennessee Promise FAFSA deadline.
Have 95 percent or more of their Tennessee Promise applicants complete the FAFSA as of the Tennessee Promise FAFSA deadline.
While many schools will have higher FAFSA completion rates by the time students graduate, additional state funding, institutional dollars, and private scholarships may be available if the FAFSA is completed earlier in their senior year of high school.
The Tennessee Higher Education Commission and Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation have curated a number of resources for students and schools to support Tennessee’s FAFSA completion efforts. Student resources include step-by-step FAFSA-filing instructions and videos. School resources include guides focused on helping high schools strengthen their FAFSA completion numbers.