Supporting Access to College and Financial Aid

Partners Accessing College Together (PACT) is made up of nonprofits, school districts and colleges working to increase access to college for underrepresented students.

The group has developed a focused strategy to increase the number of high school seniors completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), enabling Oregon high school seniors to capture more of the nearly $36 million in federal financial aid left on the table each year.

In the 2015-16 school year, All Hands Raised worked with cross-sector teams at Franklin HS and Gresham HS to develop innovative practices, including unprecedented data tools, outreach materials for students, families and counselors and unique FAFSA completion events. This led to dramatic gains for all students at these two schools, including a 94% completion rate among African American students at one of the targeted high schools. These gains have contributed to Oregon’s 8.8 percentage point increase in FAFSA completions over last year, the largest gain of any state in the nation. These graphs overlay the practices applied at the schools with the FAFSA completion rates by their graduating seniors.

And, partners are poised to make significant progress over the coming year, building on federal changes to streamline the FAFSA process as well as Oregon’s dramatic move to make community college free for all graduating high school seniors.  Together we’ve made progress – Oregon had the greatest nationwide gains in the number of students completing the FAFSA in 2016 as compared to 2015.

Click here for more information about real-time FAFSA completion rates and the data tool, which provides an easy-to-use, interactive way to track progress on a weekly basis across local high schools, districts and the county as a whole.  View a current list of partners engaged in this work.

To see some of the outreach materials developed by the group, check out the FAFSA 2016-17 Work Sheet or the 2017-18 Work Sheet.

Critical funding for this work is provided by:

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JPMorgan Chase

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