GCC: Guam High School Seniors Slow to Complete FAFSA, Some Missing Out on Additional Aid

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Guam – An estimated 2,094 seniors are expected to turn their tassels and graduate from Guam high schools by the end of June.

As they do so, the GCC College Access Challenge Grant Program (CACGP) continues to monitor how many of them are filling out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, on the web. CACGP is interested in this number for several reasons, according to Millie Afaisen, CACGP program director.

The first is that 194 seniors from the public high schools are currently enrolled in the GCC College Access program. When these CACGP seniors complete their FAFSA on the web, they will be eligible for additional grant money to attend college, in addition to whatever amount they qualify for under the FAFSA. “It’s such a great deal,” Afaisen said. “We’re trying to get all 194 of our seniors to complete their FAFSA as soon as possible.”

The CACGP “GO Live!” FAFSA online workshop for CACGP members took place this week at John F. Kennedy High School and the Southern DYA Resource Haya Center in Agat, and will happen again this Saturday, May 19, at the Marriot during the CACGP High School Profession Development Conference from 9:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.

Of the 194 CACGP seniors, so far 41 have applied for FAFSA via the “Go Live!” on-line workshops and 10 have confirmed with their student aid report (SAR), according to Afaisen. “We expect a spike in June-July and will continue monthly tracking as our program enrollment continues to grow,” she said.

To boost successful submission and tracking of SARs, the program is continuing efforts via the FAFSA workshops, working with school-based vocational guidance counselors, phone call follow-ups and mass emails to seniors.

FAFSA completion rates are being provided by the U.S. Department of Education, Data Center of FAFSA completions by High School for Guam. As of April 29, shows only a 10% FAFSA completion rate among the expected 1,753 graduating seniors from public high schools, compared to a 37% completion rate of the 341 seniors in the private schools, including Guam High.

The new tracking initiative by the US DOE Data Center will provide Guam with baseline data which then can be used for future planning – whether it be for financial aid assistance and/or college enrollment, according Afaisen. Throughout the year, CACGP works with school and community partners to prepare its middle and high school students for college preparation and career planning.

“Typically between April through August the program becomes very busy with its transitional activities assisting seniors with financial aid and the college enrollment process, along with enrolling students in our annual Summer Bridge Program for middle and high school students,” Afaisen said.

For more information about GCC’s College Access Challenge Grant Program, call 735-0221, or visit the CACGP Office in Room 5203, GCC Student Center Building, or log onto www.gcc.cacgp@guamcc.edu. Other helpful sources are the GCC Financial Aid Office at 735-5543/4, Room 2116, Student Services & Administration Building, or log onto www.guamcc.edu.

You can also contact the UOG Office of Financial Aid at 735-2284/2288. The office is located at the UOG Field House, or log onto www.uog.edu .

For the FAFSA online application, log onto www.fafsa.ed.gov.

To view FAFSA Completion rates by high schools go to: www.federalstudentaid.ed.gov/datacenter/fafsahs.html.