Winners of 2018 “Battle of the High Schools” FAFSA Completion Competition


70% Graduating High Schools Seniors Completed This Year

 OneFuture Coachella Valley recently held its annual awards celebration for the top five Coachella Valley high schools who had the highest ratio of graduating seniors complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to date. Nearly 100 students, counselors, administrators, and OneFuture CV staff attended the ceremonies in the auditorium at UC Riverside, Palm Desert.

2018 FAFSA Battle of the High School winners were for small schools, West Shores, Coachella Valley Unified School District, with a 96% completion rate, winning $1,000. Alternative school winner was La Familia High School, CVUSD, with a 69% complete rate, also receiving $1,000.

Three large schools winners in each school district were Desert Mirage, CVUSD, with an 81% FAFSA completion rate; Desert Sands Unified School District’s Shadow Hills High School gained an 85% rate; and Palm Springs Unified Schools District’s Cathedral City High School, showed an 81% rate. Each of the three high schools was awarded $3,000.

Overall winner, and taking the big Regional FAFSA Champions Cup trophy, was Shadow Hills High School, receiving an additional $1,000.

“On behalf of OneFuture Coachella Valley and our regional partners, we would like to congratulate all the winners of the FAFSA Battle of the High Schools Completion Competition this year,” said Sheila Thornton, OneFuture CV president and CEO.

“Since 2011, all three school districts, the OneFuture Coachella Valley and its regional partners have been working diligently to increase completion of the FAFSA and state applications among local students. That rate has increased from 48% in 2011 to 70% in 2018. Completing the FAFSA application is the first step to going on to college, and students who complete it are four times more likely to attend college.”

OneFuture CV’s regional goal has been to reach 85% completion by 2018, as part of the Coachella Valley’s Regional Plan for College and Career Success.  All of the schools being recognized were selected because they achieved the highest FAFSA and Dream Application completion rates in the valley and helped OneFuture CV take one step closer to reach its regional goal of 85% completion.

This year 70% of graduating high school seniors completed the FAFSA or California Student Aid applications by March 2, a three (3) percentage point increase over 2017. To put the accomplishment in perspective, if all students receive the minimum financial aid award package, Coachella Valley students would be eligible for an estimated $14.7 million in financial aid.

“We congratulate all students for taking this important step in your pursuit of a higher education,” said Ernie Rios, OneFuture CV vice president of College Success.

“We also want to recognize and thank the counselors, teachers and high school administrators that helped students complete the FAFSA and California Student Aid applications.  It is because of your assistance with the application process that more students have the opportunity to pursue a higher education. Congratulations to all the high schools.  We are all very proud of you!”

About OneFuture Coachella Valley

While our name is new, our work is long-established. This effort launched in 2005 as a career pathways initiative under the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, and expanded to include a regional college access and scholarship initiative in 2009. Our partnership team now administers the selection and awarding of more than $1.4 million per year in scholarships and has been instrumental in creating a regional leadership focus on college and career success across all levels of education, business, and community.

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