Seven high schools are seeing increased financial aid and scholarship applications as a result of the Treasure Valley Education Partnership (TVEP) initiative Cash for College Idaho, which supports students who are navigating the college-going process.
Cash for College Idaho is available statewide, but seven schools are piloting the initiative and tracking their progress toward increasing the amount of students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) college and scholarship applications. With financial aid, many students who can’t afford the full cost of college are able to earn their degrees.
Each of the seven schools —Columbia, Frank Church, Kuna, Meridian, Mountain Home, Nampa and Vallivue — set their own Idaho Opportunity Scholarship (IOS) application goals, above and beyond what their students completed in 2015. In order to apply for the IOS, students must have completed the FAFSA. TVEP is excited to share that the initiative has made a difference. Most notably, these seven schools increased their total applications to the IOS to 423 applications this year, compared to 266 last year.
This initiative was particularly successful within the Vallivue School District, helping our students achieve access to scholarship funds. Not only was the goal met, but the number of Vallivue High students applying for the IOS almost doubled from the number who applied in 2015.
The IOS, which is a state-funded scholarship, is a great opportunity for seniors from Idaho high schools who are planning to attend an Idaho college or university. The scholarship is awarded based on financial need and merit — students must have at least a 3.0 GPA and be in need of extra financial support for college.
And the efforts of TVEP’s partner schools in supporting their students to complete the IOS application has helped demonstrate that there are many students eligible for and in need of financial support.
The same seven schools have also been working hard to support students in completing the FAFSA application. While FAFSA completion is only one step in the college-going process, it is a way for students to unlock access to federal loans and grants, statewide scholarships and grants, and often institutional and community based scholarships. Although TVEP’s FAFSA completion initiative deadline is not until April 30, the seven partner schools are more than two-thirds of the way to achieving their FAFSA completion goal.
The results we have seen so far with Cash for College Idaho are one example of what the Treasure Valley Education Partnership aims to achieve. With partners at the table working to create and track data-based strategies together, our community can more effectively support our students in pursuing higher education.
Pat Charlton is the superintendent of the Vallivue School District and a Core Team Leader for the Treasure Valley Education Partnership.