2022 Eligibility Requirements

The 2022 First in FAFSA Challenge
The Why

Students who complete the FAFSA are more likely to enroll in higher education, persist in their college coursework, and obtain a degree. Since federal, state, and institutional financial aid and scholarships to pay for college are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, we encourage students to complete the FAFSA as early as possible during their senior year of high school.

Our Goal

myFutureNC’s goal for the 2022 FAFSA Challenge is to increase FAFSA completion in every high school in North Carolina by partnering with high schools to ensure as many students receive as much funding for higher education as possible. Together, we can reach and surpass our goal of 65% of high school seniors completing the FAFSA.

The Challenge

All North Carolina public high schools are automatically included in the 2022 FAFSA Challenge that runs from January through March 31, 2022 for the chance to win $500 for their school. Follow your school or district’s progress using the NC First in FAFSA Tracker (updated weekly), Challenge Leaderboard (updated monthly), and promote FAFSA completion with all students. For updates and resources, sign up for the First in FAFSA e-newsletter.

High school 2022 Challenge winners will be selected in each of the four categories:

    • Overall highest percentage of FAFSA completions
    • Overall highest percentage increase in FAFSA completion (from 2021 to 2022)
    • Most innovative FAFSA completion strategy (more info here)
      • Statewide
      • FAFSA network
      • CIHS

For each category, public high schools will compete among similar schools by senior class size, location, and type based on the following subcategories:

      • Traditional (public)
        • Extra Small (5-79)
        • Small (80-165)
        • Medium (166-267)
        • Large (268+)
        • Rural
      • Charter (public)

Cooperative Innovative High Schools (CIHS) are eligible for the Innovation Grant awards. CIHS are not included in the 2022 Challenge for completion rates and growth due to CIHS-shared concerns regarding how best to determine senior class size for these schools based on the data categorization available and the corresponding issues with calculating accurate FAFSA completion rates. The First in FAFSA Tracker will contain data that CIHS leadership can use to track FAFSA submissions and completions over time.

  • The FAFSA Challenge runs January through March 31, 2022 (11:59pm ET).
  • One public high school winner from each of the categories and subcategories listed above will be selected. Only one winning school will be chosen per category.
  • Winners of the grants will be announced by or before April 30, 2022.
  • FAFSA completion results will use federal data (compiled and analyzed by Carolina Demography) with the closest federal reporting period to March 31, 2022, comparing 2021 to 2022 completion using high school senior enrollment counts from the North Carolina Department of Instruction (NCDPI) Average Daily Membership (ADM) Month 2 report.

For more information or questions about the Challenge, contact NCFirstinFAFSA@myfuturenc.org