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A photo of graduation at ASU.

Arizona celebrates Decision Day

Today, Arizona is celebrating the future plans of Arizona’s high school graduates, with Governor Katie Hobbs proclaiming May 1 as Arizona Decision Day.

Arizona Decision Day empowers students to take charge of their futures by making plans beyond high school, whether it’s enrolling in college or a trade school, joining the military or becoming part of the workforce. 

“As an immigrant and first-generation college student, it was my education that opened opportunities for me in the United States,” said Arizona Board of Regents Chair Cecilia Mata. “Congratulations to all of Arizona’s graduating seniors as they pursue their dreams.” 

This year, Arizona Decision Day kicked off in April at the El Valle Puede Celebration to tip-off Arizona Decision Day event. Celebrations across the state continue until high school graduation. Governor Hobbs congratulated students at the event in a video message

Given the U.S. Department of Education’s problematic and continued delays with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), Decision Day is even more critical this year to ensure students have ample time to make their postsecondary plans. Just 22 percent of Arizona high school seniors completed the FAFSA as of April 19; that’s 33.5 percent less than last year. 

FAFSA opens the door to grants, work-study and federal student loans. It’s also a requirement for the Arizona Promise Program, the state’s guaranteed scholarship program for eligible Arizona residents that ensures all tuition and fees are covered at Arizona’s public universities.

Over the last three years, Arizona high school graduates missed out on nearly $300 million in Pell Grant funding by not completing their FAFSA.

“So much money goes unused in FAFSA. Students need to apply right away, even if they think their parents make too much money. There is no income cutoff to apply and it’s one of the most important steps seniors can take,” said Tracie McMurray, Mountain View High School AVID coordinator.

May 1 also marks the extended priority deadlines for Arizona’s public universities. Students can still apply after today, but universities recommend completing applications by today’s deadline to ensure students have access to all financial resources.