California Student Aid Commission

SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — On Friday, May 1, Get Schooled and the California Student Aid Commission will recognize the students and staff at Sacramento Charter High School for their commitment to college success. As part of the 2015 California College Challenge, a friendly competition sponsored by Get Schooled and the Commission aimed at boosting FAFSA completion rates, 98 percent of all Sacramento Charter High School seniors submitted a FAFSA or a California Dream Act (CADA) application, up 37 percent from the prior year. The Challenge was supported by Comcast Internet Essentials.

The event is timed to be part of the First Lady’s National College Signing Day, a nationwide event aimed at supporting and celebrating high school seniors and their commitment to complete their education beyond high school.

According to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United States has dropped from first to 12th in the world in college completion rates over the last decade. Educators have noted that a key driver in improving college completion rates is ensuring students are prepared academically and financially for college when they graduate from high school. In California, students must complete a FAFSA or CADA if they are to access billions of dollars in federal, state, campus-based, and scholarship aid.

FAFSA completion rates in high schools active in the Challenge, those where at least 10 percent of students participated, were most noteworthy. These schools posted an 18 percent increase in FAFSA

submission rates. An average of 78 percent of seniors in these high schools submitted a FAFSA or CADA, well above the national average of 55% (See: ).

On hand to lead the celebration and inspire the students and school will be California native Sway Calloway, Shade 45 radio host and MTV News correspondent. “There is nothing more powerful than gaining knowledge through education,” said Sway Calloway. “I am excited to celebrate with Sacramento Charter High School students for what they have accomplished and what they will accomplish.” Get Schooled, a national education non-profit, and the Commission, the California agency administering state-authorized financial aid programs for students, designed the Challenge to offer California schools and students highly engaging ways to explore college options, understand key requirements, and complete critical steps to accessing financial aid. In addition to engaging online college-readiness activities, the Challenge also offered a FAFSA Text Hotline, in partnership with Univision, to provide live support to students and families in English and Spanish as they completed the FASFA or CADA forms.

“Every year, we work on getting 100% of our seniors to go on to a four-year college and to fill out the FAFSA. About 95% of our seniors were accepted into a four-year college this year and we are excited that 98% of our seniors filled out the FAFSA to find financial aid for college,” said David Marks, College Counselor at Sacramento Charter High School. “Not only does Get Schooled help our seniors throughout the college and financial aid application process, but it also helps get our younger high school students to start thinking about college before it is on top of them.”

The school will use the $2000 grant to provide college scholarships for their seniors and summer college enrichment program scholarships for their 9th – 11th graders.

In addition to Sacramento Charter High School, 12 high schools in the Challenge earned a $500 grant by because 75 percent of their seniors submitted a FAFSA/California Dream Act and they were active in the Challenge. These high schools include: Alliance Gertz-Ressler High (Los Angeles); Animo Jackie Robinson High (Los Angeles); Design Science Early College High (Fresno); Grant Union High (Sacramento); KIPP San Jose Collegiate (San Jose); Los Angeles International Charter High School (Los Angeles); Luther Burbank High (Sacramento); Maricopa High School (Maricopa); Middle Early College High (San Bernardino); Pioneer High (San Jose); and Verbum Dei High School (Los Angeles).

About Get Schooled

Get Schooled is a non-profit organization that directly engages and motivates students to graduate from high school and succeed in college. Get Schooled is the premiere education brand for young people – linking students with high quality, cutting edge resources and tools they need to succeed. Get Schooled has developed a track record of success because it engages with young Americans using the media, technology and popular culture that is an integral part of their lives. Get Schooled’s work is boosted by partners like Viacom, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Google.

About the California Student Aid Commission

The California Student Aid Commission is the principal state agency responsible for administering financial aid programs for students attending public and private universities, colleges, and vocational schools in California. Our mission is to make education beyond high school financially accessible to all Californians. The California Student Aid Commission also provides financial aid policy analysis and leadership, in partnership with California’s colleges, universities, financial institutions and financial aid associations. The California Student Aid Commission works toward a California that invests in educational opportunity, fosters an active, effective citizenry, and provides a higher quality of social and economic life for its citizens.