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FAFSA Completion Strategies Target Increase for Iowa

January 27, 2022

ICAN’s FAFSA Ready Iowa Initiative Making Great Strides Toward 60% Goal

HIAWATHA, IOWA (January 27, 2022) — ICAN is pleased to announce that FAFSA completion rates through December 2020, are up for Iowa high school seniors by 4 percent over the previous year and that Iowa ranks 13th in the nation for completion.

With the implementation of virtual assistance throughout the pandemic, ICAN has implemented new strategies toward FAFSA completion. Empowering communities to help their youth, ICAN has partnered with community foundations and school districts across Iowa to provide school-based completion assistance events, raising the level of awareness and access to financial aid.

FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the federal form required to access both federal and state financial aid, including grants and federal student loans. By completing the FAFSA, Iowa students can unlock millions of dollars in aid, making the successful completion of education and training beyond high school a reality.

“For many the FAFSA is overwhelming and can be a barrier to accessing education and training beyond high school. Knowing you should complete the FAFSA and being able to complete it correctly are two different things,” explains Rob Miller, ICAN President. “Our FAFSA Ready Iowa initiative enables families to have a skilled and knowledgeable professional meet with them one-on-one and create a plan to cover college costs.”

Data shows that students have an 85 percent chance of being awarded financial aid by simply completing the form. ICAN’s work, in partnership with both the high school counseling and higher education communities of Iowa, has made great strides in bringing awareness of the importance of FAFSA completion to high school seniors. Through its FAFSA Ready Iowa FAFSA assistance events, community grant initiatives, and school-based programming, ICAN and its partners are making an impact on FAFSA completion in Iowa, and in helping students attain their future goals.

"Increasing awareness and outreach programs are an important aspect of FAFSA completion and the FAFSA Ready Iowa Initiative has us to grow our partnerships and increase access for families who need assistance completing and understanding the complex financial aid system, bringing real impact." continued Miller.  

In an effort to expand its impact ICAN offers a Financial Aid Certification program as part of its professional development series to increase the number of individuals trained to help students complete the FAFSA.

“As a nonprofit we are always looking for ways to maximize our impact by leveraging the success we’ve already created.” Explained Miller. “ICAN is known for our financial aid expertise, and we’ve been able to leverage that knowledge and experience to train others in communities and schools across the state.”

Since its launch six years ago ICAN has trained and certified more than 1,000 school counselors, higher education professionals from admissions, financial aid, and student services, as well as community members. Individuals certified through the ICAN program agree to provide their assistance without charge, and are available in their communities, and volunteer at ICAN events to expand the number of families being assisted.

As of December 30, 2021, 13,714 FAFSA forms have been filed by seniors for the Class of 2022. Through its student success centers, school- and community-based events, and partnerships with community foundations, ICAN has directly assisted with 34 percent of FAFSAs filed. Through its training program it is estimated that ICAN indirectly assisted with the completion of an addition 15 percent of FAFSAs filed since October 1, 2021.

ICAN, a nonprofit organization providing career and college readiness planning to students and parents in Iowa, has been educating and empowering Iowa’s future workforce since

1998.

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About ICAN

ICAN is a nonprofit, educational organization. ICAN is the College Access Network for Iowa, and a member of the National College Access Network (NCAN). ICAN has locations in Ankeny, Cedar Rapids, Coralville, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Sioux City and Waterloo, which provide programming and advising support to students and their families as they plan for education and training after high school. All ICAN programs and services are provided without charge. For more information about ICAN, call (877) 272-4692 or visit www.ICANsucceed.org.

About FAFSA Ready Iowa

FAFSA Ready Iowa is an initiative set forth by the ICAN to reach a 60 percent FAFSA completion rate for high school seniors by the year 2025. As part of this initiative, FAFSA Ready Iowa partners with colleges, universities, community organizations, and high schools to provide free FAFSA assistance events throughout Iowa. In 2021-22 academic year more than 100 events were held in 42 locations across 34 Iowa cities.

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