Completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is one of the best predictors of whether a high school senior will go on to college, as seniors who complete the FAFSA are 84% more likely to immediately enroll in postsecondary education. For students in the lowest socioeconomic quintile, FAFSA completion is associated with a 127% increase in immediate college enrollment. Last year, (2019-20) Leon County had a 41.8% completion rate with estimated Pell Grants earned at $3,346,842.
This year, the ASPIRE Capital Region launched a pilot run of the Bringing Economic And Career Opportunities Nearer for High School Seniors (BEACON) program. The ASPIRE coordinating team and the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce enlisted young professionals from Access Tallahassee to work with seniors on filling out the FAFSA and answering any questions they have about the next steps, post-graduation. During this first year, BEACON volunteers are working with Amos P. Godby High School and Leon County Virtual School seniors with plans to expand the program to all Leon County high schools in the 2021-22 school year.