We are excited to announce the winners of the 2021 Florida FAFSA Challenge, a statewide campaign to increase the proportion of high school seniors completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

As of March 26, 34.3% of Florida public high school seniors have completed a FAFSA and are one step closer to getting the money needed to pay for education beyond high school. According to an FCAN analysis, this translates to an estimated $139 million in Pell Grant dollars.

Through the end of March, 68 schools in 28 Florida counties have increased the percentage of seniors who completed the FAFSA by at least five percentage points over last year.

“We are proud to see so many schools embrace the FAFSA Challenge and exceed the statewide goal,” said Charleita M. Richardson, FCAN’s Executive Director. The Florida FAFSA Challenge encourages schools and districts to increase FAFSA completion by 5 percentage points compared to the previous year. “Given the negative impact COVID-19 has had on our ability to support students during the FAFSA process, we want to commend every school and district in the state for their work to increase FAFSA completions.”

Districts and schools in Miami-Dade, Pinellas, St. Johns, Gulf, Volusia, Hillsborough, and Okeechobee counties won top honors as the highest performers:

MVP (Highest FAFSA completion rate through March 26, 2021)

Large School: Terra Environmental Research Institute, Miami-Dade County
Medium School: Jose Marti MAST 6-12 Academy, Miami-Dade County
Small School: St. Petersburg Collegiate High School, Pinellas County
Large District: St. Johns County (St. Johns County School District)
Small District: Gulf County (Gulf District Schools)

Most Improved (Highest increase in FAFSA completion compared to March 2020)

Large School: Deland High School, Volusia County
Medium School: Pinecrest Preparatory Academy Charter High School, Miami-Dade County
Small School: Sports Leadership and Management Academy (Tampa), Hillsborough County
Large District: Volusia County (Volusia County Schools)
Small District: Okeechobee County (Okeechobee County Schools)

The top five contenders in each of these categories are recognized in the Florida FAFSA Challenge Leaderboard.

How did your school or district do?

Curious about how your school or district fared in the Florida FAFSA Challenge? You can find out on FCAN’s Florida FAFSA Challenge Dashboard, which includes data for over 600 public schools in the state.

FAFSA completion data for all schools and districts – including all those that exceeded the 5% goal – are available. The dashboard allows users to view school, district, and state-level FAFSA completion rates using nine different filters and search options.

Chart: FAFSA completion among 12th graders attending Florida public schools

The Florida FAFSA Challenge is part of College Ready Florida, a suite of statewide initiatives designed to build a college-going culture and help all students — especially low-income students — continue their educations beyond high school.

FCAN applauds all schools and districts that committed to helping more graduating high school seniors access financial aid for college and congratulates those that boosted their FAFSA completion rates this year!

FCAN thanks the following for their generous support of the Florida FAFSA Challenge:

Cornerstone Funder



Finishing the Florida FAFSA Challenge strong during COVID-19
Despite a dip in the current selection rate, FAFSA verification remains a hurdle for students

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