#FormYourFuture Institute Content and Logistics

The goal of the #FormYourFuture FAFSA Completion Institute is to provide training, coaching, and planning time to teams from communities interested in increasing FAFSA completion rates. Specifically, each attendee will leave this event with a preliminary plan to increase FAFSA completion rates to be implemented during the 2019-20 academic year

The #FormYourFuture FAFSA Completion Institute will take place in Dallas, TX, on July 10-11, 2019. 

Why is Increasing FAFSA Completion Important?

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the gateway to a variety of student financial aid sources, including federal, state, and institutional aid as well as loans and scholarships. Unfortunately, low income students – those who are most in need of resources to finance their postsecondary education – are less likely to complete the FAFSA for a variety of reasons: Students may believe the form is too complicated, that they are not eligible for aid, or that they may not even know that financial aid exists. 

FAFSA completion is strongly associated with postsecondary enrollment. And receiving financial aid is correlated with better persistence outcomes: For every additional $1,000 in grant aid a student receives, their chance of postsecondary persistence increases by 4 percentage points. 

Given the trend towards jobs and careers that require education beyond a high school diploma, it is imperative that all cities work hard to ensure that as many students as possible complete the FAFSA and access the resources necessary to complete a postsecondary degree or credential. 

Who Should Attend?
We encourage cross-sector teams to attend this training event. We know from the research and NCAN’s experience managing the FAFSA Completion Challenge grants that partnerships are critical to increasing FAFSA completion. At a minimum, we suggest you bring a representative from your city’s K-12 school district (counselor, principal, or superintendent), a college access organization/program, and someone from a local postsecondary institution (financial aid officer, admission officer, or outreach staff.) 

What Topics Will We Cover?
The institute will cover the following: 

  • Creating and strengthening cross-sector partnerships that include K-12, community-based organizations, higher education, business, families, etc.
  • Accessing and using student-level data, including creating dashboards and using data to ensure equitable FAFSA completion outcomes
  • Strategic outreach to students and families including use of social and traditional media, communications campaigns, and strategies for hosting effective FAFSA completion events
  • Training for those who are actually assisting students with completing the FAFSA as well as for others in the community so they understand the role of FAFSA completion in ensuring that all students can achieve their postsecondary goals. 

Who Are the Presenters?
Presenters will be practitioners from current and previous FAFSA Challenge grantee cities, as well as national experts from government, nonprofit, K-12, philanthropic, and postsecondary entities.

What is the Institute Format?
The institute is designed to be very interactive with plenty of time for discussion, planning and, tapping the expertise of the presenters. Each of the four major topics mentioned above will be introduced through a brief presentation to the entire group, followed by small-group discussion and planning time on some of related subtopics. The agenda includes ample time for sharing, discussion, learning from experts, and team planning.

Will Teams Have Pre-institute Homework?
Why yes, they will! Prior to the institute, attendees will be required to complete a survey with information on how their community is engaged in FAFSA completion. Attendees will also be required to complete a pre-institute reading and self-assessment packet with more detailed information on who can and should be involved in this work, ability to access and use data, the community’s college-going culture etc. Registrants will received their homework packets in mid-May. 

What Outcomes Can I Expect?
Each attendee will leave this event with the following: 

  • A deep understanding of strategies and practices that will increase FAFSA completion.
  • A preliminary plan for implementing strategies and practices to increase FAFSA completion in their community during the 2019-20 academic year.
  • A network of like-minded individuals on whom they can lean with questions about how to implement these strategies and practices. 

Must I Attend this Event with a Community Team?
No. However, the format of this event will include time for team discussion and planning. Individuals who are the only person from their city to attend will need to replicate the conversations and planning opportunities at home with local partners. We believe that teams will find this focused time away from the office will be extremely productive. 


Registration Cost
Early-bird rate (through June 1):

  • $125/person for NCAN members
  • $150/person for non-members

Rate beginning June 2:

  • $175/person for NCAN members
  • $200/person for non-members

This event is generously supported by grants from Ascendium Education Group and the Kresge Foundation, the funders of the 2018-19 FAFSA Completion Challenge Grant. 

The registration fee will cover lunch and snacks on July 10, and breakfast, snacks and lunch on July 11. 

Not an NCAN member? Learn more about membership in our network here. 

Below is a draft agenda. As we finalize details and specific presenters, we will update this page: 

Wednesday, July 10

11:00 a.m. Registration Opens
11:30 a.m. Lunch (provided)
12:00 p.m. Welcome/Overview
Engaging Partners in FAFSA Completion – Who, Why, and How?
Breakouts/Small Group Discussion/Planning
2:30 p.m. Break
Accessing and Using Data to Increase FAFSA Completion
Breakouts/Small Group Discussion/Planning
Snack and Learn with the Experts
5:45 p.m. Dinner on Your Own

Thursday, July 11
7:45 a.m. Breakfast (provided)
8:15 a.m. What’s on the Horizon: FAFSA Updates
Reaching Students and Families Through Strategic Outreach & Events
Breakouts/Small Group Discussion/Planning
10:45 a.m. Break
11:00 a.m. Training & Capacity Building for FAFSA Completion – By & For Whom?
Breakouts/Small Group Discussion/Planning
1:00 p.m. Lunch and Learn with the Experts (lunch provided)
2:00 p.m. Wrap-Up & Adjourn 

The #FormYourFuture FAFSA Completion Institute will take place at the Communities Foundation of Texas, located at 5500 Caruth Haven Lane in Dallas, TX. This location is easily accessible from Love Field and the major Dallas highways. 

NCAN has not reserved a block of rooms for this event. However, there are two hotels in very close proximity to the institute venue: 

Hyatt House: 8221 North Central Expressway, Dallas. Click here to reserve a room. 

Doubletree By Hilton: 8250 North Central Expressway, Dallas. Click here to reserve a room. 

We are very excited to offer communities across the country the opportunity to take this deep dive into FAFSA completion. Please contact Sara Melnick at melnicks@collegeaccess.org if you have any questions about this event.