April 21, 2016, AUSTIN, TX – The Austin Chamber today announced that 49 percent of seniors from its 12 partner school districts were best in Texas for filing federal college financial aid forms (FAFSA), ahead of key filing deadlines. The higher early filing rate also helped Central Texas become the top region in the state for financial aid filings at 41 percent (see Chart).
About 7,600 students from partner school districts filed for financial aid before April 1, an increase of 12 percent over the same period in 2015. This is expected to bring $9.6 million more in aid to local students over the prior year. The Chamber’s FASFA completion partnership is part of a larger regional push to help Central Texas achieve a 70 percent direct-to-college enrollment rate to align with the national average.
“About 60 percent of today's local job openings require at least an associate degree," said Shaun Cranston, Austin Chamber 2016 Education Chair and SVP of Brookfield Residential-Texas. "Our business community is pleased to put a tremendous amount of effort into increasing financial aid opportunities to help students access higher education, eventually take a job here and make our region even more successful.”
Through the Chamber’s proactive education programs, including partnerships with the local business and education community, there were several positive results to help school districts and students:
- In rankings of Texas regions by FAFSA filing rates from TG, first quarter 2016 FAFSA filing rates showed the 12 partner school districts were 20 percent higher than the 2nd place region: Rio Grande Valley (Source: TG Adventures in Education).
- 1,700 attended 26 area Financial Aid Saturdays, a 45 percent increase over 2015.
- Participating school districts, which educate about 15,600 high school seniors, include the following: Austin, Del Valle, Elgin, Hays, Hutto, KIPP, Harmony, Leander, Manor, NYOS, Pflugerville and Round Rock ISDs.
- Based upon standard models of estimating the impact of financial aid efforts, the first three months of filings for the Class of 2016 are expected to yield $82 million of financial aid. This is an increase of $9.6 million over the same period in 2015. (Methodology based upon the 2011-12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study
- The Chamber invests $80,000 annually in programming to help students and high school counselors. For drive more financial aid filings, the Chamber provided 80 tickets to see First Lady Michele Obama at SXSW, ten $1,000 scholarships from C3 Presents, three free movie screenings from Alamo Drafthouse, and 30 three-day passes, and backstage tours, to the Austin City Limits Festival.
# # #
About the Austin Chamber of Commerce
The mission of the Austin Chamber of Commerce is to provide leadership that facilitates the creation of a prosperous regional economy and effective advocacy for its 3,000+ members. For more information about the Austin Chamber of Commerce visit AustinChamber.com.
SVP Communications and Marketing
Austin Chamber of Commerce; 512.322.5646
Greater Austin Chamber
The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce focuses on how the Austin Region works. We serve as the voice of business for 2,800 organizations representing a combined workforce of about 330,000 employees throughout Central Texas. Our mission is to provide leadership that facilitates the creation of a prosperous regional economy and effective advocacy for members.