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Posted: September 22, 2011

More than Half of Recent APS Graduates Seek Student Financial Aid

Ceremony Held at 4 p.m. Thursday to Celebrate FAFSA Project

Albuquerque Public Schools surpassed its goal of getting half of the 2011 graduating class to complete an application for federal financial aid to help pay for higher education. The percentage of APS students in the class of 2011 who actually filled out the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) was 52 percent, a 14 percent increase over the previous year.

Superintendent Winston Brooks and representatives of the U.S. Department of Education will celebrate the success of the FAFSA awareness project during a recognition ceremony at 4 p.m. today (Thursday) in the Rio Grande Room of APS administrative building. Counselors, teachers, administrators and members of the community will be recognized for their efforts in getting the word out about FAFSA and for helping students and families fill out the online application.

“There are billions of dollars in federal financial aid available to help students pay for higher education, but only about a third of our students were seeking it out,” said Brooks. “We committed as a district to get more students to fill out the FAFSA because we wanted to help remove the financial barrier that was keeping too many of our students from pursuing their higher education goals.”

APS set up “trusted centers” at all of its high schools, CNM and UNM where students and families could get information about federal financial aid and get help filling out the online application. Assistance was offered before and after school and during lunch by APS teachers, counselors, administrators and volunteers.

APS and the U.S. Department of Education worked in partnership with the city of Albuquerque, UNM, CNM, the media and others to get the word out about FAFSA, targeting low-income student populations.