A collaborative effort to raise the number of Greater Stark County FAFSA2 applicants has been funded by a Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Grant. On Monday, April 5th, the Ohio Department of Education informed Stark Education Partnership of the grant's full approval for $42,800. "We’re absolutely thrilled to receive this vital funding to support students filing a FAFSA," Dr. Teresa Purses explained. "The team we’ve assembled is dedicated to assisting students of all ages in finding money to reduce the costs of an education after high school."
Of the 22 Greater Stark County districts, twelve are included in Ohio’s priority list – those with low (below 40%) FAFSA completion rates or more than a 3.5% decline since January 2020. The remaining ten districts are included in the grant in order to serve vulnerable populations.
A coalition – including the Stark County Educational Service Center, Stark State College, CARE Teams, Family Support Specialists, Urban League Navigators and the Stark Education Partnership (lead applicant) – will implement six key strategies. While training coaches/navigators in how best to support students and families, focus will also be on creating awareness within the community of the important opportunities available to pay for education.
Strategy #1: DATA – Use student-level and school-level FAFSA completion data to target students for personal outreach while monitoring data throughout the process.
Strategy #2 FAFSA FACILITATORS – Identify FAFSA Facilitators who are experienced in mentoring and supporting students and families.
Strategy #3: TRAINING AND COACHING – Partner with Stark State financial aid professionals to train FAFSA Facilitators in how to file a FAFSA and how to problem solve during the application process.