2022 Innovation Award

The NC First in FAFSA Innovation Award goes to a public high school in each category that implemented an innovative strategy to dramatically increase the school’s FAFSA completion rate this academic year. To win a $500 award for most innovative FAFSA completion strategy, each school must submit their strategies via this form by April 30, 2022 5 p.m. ET. Winners will be announced in Summer 2022.

There will be at least one Innovation Award winner in each of the following categories:

  • Cooperative Innovative High Schools (CIHS, including early college high schools) – Up to 5 awards in this category
  • FAFSA Network high schools
  • All other public high schools

Please check with your school’s counselor to coordinate one submission per public high school. For questions, please contact NCFirstinFAFSA@myfuturenc.org

Award Submission

Please submit one submission form per public high school. We ask for 3-4 sentence responses to each question.

1.) Describe your school’s innovative strategy

  • What is your school’s innovative strategy to dramatically improve FAFSA completion rates this academic year?
  • How is this innovative strategy different from what you have done in the past?
  • Why did your school initiate this innovative strategy this year?
  • Who or what groups are involved in implementing this strategy?

2.) Describe how this innovative strategy supports your students who…

  • Are likely eligible for the Pell Grant
  • Will be first-generation college students
  • Didn’t have college on their radar until recently
  • Have circumstances that make the steps to college difficult

3.) Describe the impact of implementing this innovative strategy

  • How has implementing this innovative strategy impacted your school’s FAFSA completion rate?
  • How has this impacted students, families, staff, partners, and/or the community?
  • How do you know?
Selection Criteria

The following criteria will be used by a committee to determine the Innovation Award winner for each category (see table below).

Innovative Strategy is innovative — either trying something new that hasn’t been done before and/or doing something old in a new and more effective way.
Student and Family Centered Strategy is designed empathetically with students and families at the center based on what students and families say they need.
Data Driven Strategy uses available quantitative and qualitative data to set goals, drive decisions, plan, and implement services leading to results.
Collective Impact Strategy actively includes community and/or statewide partners collaborating to shape the strategy and share information/resources to achieve a common goal.
Equity Strategy ensures that every student and family has the support they need to be successful–and seeks out partners to provide this support when needed.

Previous Winning Strategies