Most Innovative Player
ARIZONA FAFSA CHALLENGE: November 2022
Independence High School
The Innovative Player award recognizes Arizona high schools throughout the school year for their innovative efforts and work in FAFSA completion. Read about the FAFSA best practices that have encouraged the seniors of Independence High School to complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- College Knowing and Going Ambassadors – Four student ambassadors were chosen after a rigorous selection process which included essays and interviews. Student Ambassadors attended trainings and worked with the counseling team to strategize and create our FAFSA plan for the year.
- FSA ID – Counselors and the College and Career Center Specialist met with all seniors and assisted them with creating an FSA ID in August.
- FAFSA Night Events –Independence has held multiple FAFSA night events. Student Ambassadors and partner organizations were on hand to assist.
- FAFSA Saturday Events – Independence hosted a FAFSA workshop on a Saturday to accommodate families that work late during the week. Another Saturday event will happen in the Spring.
- Senior Day – All senior English classes met with counselors in the Media Center during their class hour for “Senior Day”. During the hour, students were assigned to one of three stations depending on where they were in their post-secondary planning: FAFSA workshop, college applications/scholarships, or resume writing/career interest inventory.
- Promotion – To promote FAFSA events, counselors used the Google Classroom, REMIND, and daily announcements to reach students. Student Ambassadors also created flyers and visited each Government/Economics class to advertise.
- Incentives – When students complete their FAFSA, they receive a senior t-shirt that was created specifically for the class of 2023. Students that attend FAFSA events also receive gift bags and extra credit in their English classes.
- Survey and Follow-up – In January, all senior students will take a FAFSA survey so that counselors can find out where they are in the process and if they need additional help. Counselors will individually follow up with every student that needs assistance.
- Social Media – Student Ambassadors and the counseling staff use various social media platforms to promote events, scholarship opportunities, and more.
- Community Partners – Counselors and the College and Career Center Specialist were assisted during all of our events by multiple colleges, universities, and partner organizations.
Why do you think it is important for our students to complete the FAFSA?
"A lot of students in our demographic are hesitant to go to college due to their belief that they don't have enough money, which is why FAFSA is helpful for students to take that step." - Brooke D
How does your position as a Student Ambassador allow you to make a difference by helping other students complete their FAFSA?
"I feel like it is easier for students to be approached by a peer because they don't feel as much pressure from teachers and staff. It is easier to see it from our perspective." - Xia R.
What is your favorite part about helping students complete their FAFSA?
"My favorite part is the end when a student is able to see how much aid they qualify for. It's exciting to see the relief and joy that a family feels knowing that college is attainable." Ms. Koole