During the 2024 Talent Strong Florida Summit, Florida College Access Network recognized Miami Beach Senior High School as the FAFSA Trailblazer, an award that acknowledges the hard work a school has accomplished with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion activities and student support.

According to the National College Attainment Network, FAFSA completion is strongly associated with postsecondary enrollment, however students who most need financial aid are less likely to complete the form.  Completing the FAFSA is an important step in the financial aid process to ensure that students receive the aid they are eligible for. Miami Beach Senior High School’s FAFSA completion events understood this message and provided students and families with opportunities to complete the FAFSA.

Kenny Cabrera, Miami Beach Senior High School’s College Assistance Program (CAP) Advisor, was pivotal in organizing various resources throughout the school year.

FCAN's executive director, Braulio Colón, and Miami Beach Senior High School's CAP Advisor, Kenny Cabrera at the 2024 Talent Strong Florida Summit.

FCAN’s executive director, Braulio Colón (left), and Miami Beach Senior High School’s CAP Advisor, Kenny Cabrera (right), at the 2024 Talent Strong Florida Summit.

“The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is such an integral part of the financial aid process, and it makes postsecondary education more affordable and accessible. In the past two years, billions of dollars in Pell Grants have been left on the table from not completing the application and it’s a shame it is not being applied to those who need it most. I implore all students and families to submit their FAFSA when available,” said Cabrera.

Miami Beach Senior High collaborated with Miami Dade County Public Schools Student Services Department and Miami Dade College to host FAFSA completions events from January to June.

In preparation for these events, FSA ID creation events were organized in the fall during school lunches and in the school’s college lab. Here, each student who created an FSA ID received a candy or snack for their participation. Creating an FSA ID ahead of the FAFSA opening date ensures the individual can log in to their account once the form is released rather than starting this step after the release date. With this year’s unprecedented FAFSA changes and late release, this was a critical first step.

During the school’s FAFSA completion events, students were awarded gift cards and could participate in a raffle to receive a new tablet and headphones. Students could utilize the school’s media center as another area to complete the form with staff guidance as well.

Having a space for students to ask questions, receive assistance, and ensure they leave with more clarity on the financial aid process was vital for the community. Considering the Spanish-speaking population in Miami-Dade County, bilingual sessions were held for families who may not be familiar with certain college-going activities. These sessions provided a level of comfort and trust needed when discussing personal information.

Throughout the entire school year, Miami Beach Senior High School supported students with the FAFSA while undergoing various changes due to the FAFSA Simplification Act, which aims to streamline the form. As the summer progresses, FCAN encourages students to complete the FAFSA. Visit studentaid.gov to get started and learn more.

Pin It on Pinterest

Skip to content