Inland Empire Region

FAFSA Completion

Inland Empire regional leaders and practitioners urge Inland Empire high schools to reach 90% FAFSA completion by 2026.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion is one of the strongest predictors of postsecondary enrollment, which is key to boosting the Inland Empire’s educational and economic mobility. Every year, many eligible students miss out on free money for college. Filling out the FAFSA is the key to unlocking financial aid (such as Pell Grants) from federal, state, and institutional sources, much of which does not need to be paid back. Without intervention, declining FAFSA completion rates could indicate that last year’s alarming postsecondary enrollment declines will persist or even worsen. It’s critical now more than ever that we ensure that our students are able to pursue their college dreams.

According to the California Student Aid Commission’s Race to Submit dashboard, 49% of Inland Empire students (San Bernardino & Riverside Counties combined) in the class of 2021 have completed the FAFSA so far this year.

Determined to make change for our students, GIA’s Financial Affordability Action Network Team (ANT) proposed an ambitious achievement goal for the region – 90% FAFSA completion by all high school seniors by 2026. This means we need to reach a minimum of 5,000 additional students every year! GIA’s Board of Directors including both Riverside County and San Bernardino County Superintendents endorsed this bold objective in a Regional Call to Action as seen below.

regional call to action

GIA’s Board of Directors affirms goal to reach 90% FAFSA completion by 2026.

“By providing students and families support with completing and submitting a FAFSA, the chances of college enrollment increase significantly. Many of our 56 districts across Riverside and San Bernardino Counties are already making great strides to increase their numbers; some have surpassed 90%. Yet, we still have work to do to achieve 90% completion region-wide, and it will take the entire Inland Empire educational network coming together to get there.”

Dr. Carlos Ayala

President & CEO, Growing Inland Achievement

View a Downloadable PDF File of the Call to Action

Priority Populations for the Initiative

San Bernardino and Riverside County Schools

All seniors at K-12 schools in the 56 districts spanning San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.

Emphasis on Black, Latinx, Indegenous, and historically underserved student groups.

    Connection to GIA's Regional Goals
    1. Increase Educational Attainment, with specific emphasis on accelerating success for historically marginalized students
    Initiative Partners
    • Education Leaders
    • K-12 Schools
    • Regional & State Nonprofit Organizations
    • Philanthropic Organizations
    Initiative Contact Person

    Ida Hermosillo, Director of Network Engagement

    ida@inlandempiregia.org

    resources for action

    Take a look at the resources below to help support regional achievement of the 90% goal

    IEstudents.org Website

    We have a page dedicated to Financial Aid on the IEStudents.org website.

    Visit: https://iestudents.org/financial-support-for-college/

      Financial Aid Checklist

      A helpful financial aid checklist for high school Juniors and Seniors provided by the California Student Aid Commission.

      Visit: https://www.csac.ca.gov/pod/financial-aid-checklist

      FAFSA Resource Library

      A full-suite of resources related to FAFSA completion provided by the National College Attainment Network (NCAN).

      Visit: https://www.ncan.org/page/FAFSA_Resource_Library

      Race to Submit Dashboard

      Review data for FAFSA completion data across the state of California including an easy search tool for specific districts and school sites.

      Visit: https://webutil.csac.ca.gov/dashboard/

      Financial Aid Calculator

      Net price calculators for California Colleges provided by the California Student Aid Commission.

      Visit: https://www.csac.ca.gov/post/calculators-0

      Important Dates & Deadlines

      Dates and deadlines updates from the California Student Aid Commission.

      Visit: https://www.csac.ca.gov/post/important-dates-and-deadlines

      Cash for College Workshops

      Students and families can attend FREE Cash for College workshops across California for help completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act (CADAA) and Chafee Grant for Foster Youth applications. If you are interested in attending, hosting, or promoting a Cash-4-College event, visit: https://www.cash4college.csac.ca.gov.

      Here you can search for workshops by location, zip code, school name and county.

      Guide to Filling out the FAFSA

      A downloadable, easy-to-follow guide from Form Your Future that clearly explains the FAFSA process and answers the most common questions asked by students and parents from lower-income backgrounds.

      Visit: https://formyourfuture.org/the-guide/

      Financial Aid Toolkit

      The Financial Aid Toolkit from the U.S. Department of Education provides federal student aid information and outreach tools for counselors, college access professionals, nonprofit members, and other advisors.

      Visit: https://financialaidtoolkit.ed.gov/tk/?_ga=2.84453337.1563174876.1592139205-849197708.1591899721