What is the FAFSA Completion Collective Impact Initiative (FCCII)?
Building on the success of the U.S. Department of Education’s FAFSA Completion Initiative, the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) and the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) received support from the Kresge Foundation for the FAFSA Collective Impact Initiative: Utilizing the Colorado Model
. This initiative hopes to connect at least 24 states together to create a collective impact to assist low-income, first generation, and under-represented students to education beyond high school through the FAFSA. This project scales the Colorado model of the FAFSA Completion project to the partnering states. Specifically, Colorado has developed and is providing the necessary technical tools for the partnering states to implement and sustain the FAFSA Completion project within their own states upon the end of the grant period. How can states participate in the FCCII?
There are two ways states can participate: 1) FCCII application and PLC, and 2) PLC. First, states are given the option to receive the technical tool in order to track which students in each district and high school have completed their FAFSA. States in the FCCII also participate in a Professional Learning Community (PLC), which facilitates discussions around FAFSA completion and records best practices for FAFSA completion. While not all states are receiving the technical tool, all states involved in the FCCII are participating in the PLC. Is it free for states to participate in the FCCII?Yes, thanks to the generosity of the Kresge Foundation, Colorado is able to provide the technical tool and host the PLC at no cost to the participating states.
Once the tool is delivered, each state is responsible for administering it within their own state, including Website and Domain Management, Server Maintenance, SSL Certificate Installation and Management, User creation and management, and Importing data. Which means Colorado is unable to see participating states’ data. What are the details of the FCII technical tool?
This project developed a deliverable system
that is flexible and scalable and able to simultaneously benefit multiple states. Each adopting state will be able to host the application in a domain of their choice under state administration and governance, meet applicable security requirements, and deliver aggregated and student level data regarding FAFSA completion. System architecture is flexible to allow for installation of all application components on one server or tiered, separating the web application from the database server. Functions for loading and processing data are designed for users with limited technical knowledge and are accessible through the application. The application features will comply with privacy laws and protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
The system contains two major tiers including the website (data presentation tier) and the database (data integration and storage tier). Within those tiers are the following functional components: web-based application, identity management, data processing and data storage.Which states are already participating in the initiative?
North Carolina (PLC)
Washington, D.C. (PLC)
West Virginia (PLC) How can my state get involved?
If you’d like to participate in the FCCII, please contact Stephanie Ricker (Stephanie.Ricker@dhe.state.co.us
). What is the FAFSA Completion Initiative?*
The FAFSA Completion Initiative is an initiative through which the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) is partnering with state student grant agencies to allow these agencies to provide secondary schools, school districts, and certain designated entities with limited, yet important, information on student progress in completing the FAFSA form. This limited information is referred to as FAFSA Filing Status Information.
To participate, a state student grant agency must sign a SAIG agreement with the Department and enter into a data sharing agreement with a secondary school, school district, or a specific designated entity. The agency can then share only the specified FAFSA Filing Status Information with the secondary school, school district, or designated entity.
The FAFSA Completion Initiative
builds and expands on the success of the Department’s FAFSA Completion Pilot Project, in which the Department partnered directly with selected secondary schools and school districts to share this limited information.Why did the U.S. Department of Education launch the FAFSA Completion Initiative?*
To accomplish the President’s goal of once again having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by the year 2020, the United States must dramatically increase its high school graduation and college completion rates, especially among students from low-income families. Because the timely completion of a FAFSA form is an essential step for many families in obtaining financial aid to pursue a postsecondary education, the FAFSA Completion Initiative
will enable state student grant agencies and their school and district partners to identify those students who have not filed a FAFSA form and better target counseling, filing help, and other resources to those students. Because FAFSA completion is essential for receiving Federal financial aid, identifying such students can promote college access and success by ensuring students, particularly low-income students, have access to financial aid to fund their education. Are state student grant agencies, secondary schools, school districts, and designated entities required to participate in the FAFSA Completion Initiative?*
No. Participation is voluntary for state student grant agencies, schools, districts, and designated entities. However, the Secretary of Education encourages participation in the initiative in order to promote student access to financial aid that can help increase college enrollment and completion.
How can state student grant agencies participate in the FAFSA Completion Initiative?*
As of 2014, all state student grant agencies are able to execute a revised Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) Agreement with the Department. The revised SAIG agreement includes the requirements for the FAFSA Completion Initiative
and, once executed, will provide the state student grant agency with the authority to share FAFSA Filing Status Information (in accordance with applicable laws and regulations) with secondary schools, districts, and designated entities under the SAIG parameters. Thus, to participate, state student grant agencies will execute a revised SAIG agreement with the Department. Nonparticipating state student grant agencies will execute the same SAIG, but will have no obligation to share the FAFSA Filing Status Information. Secondary schools, school districts, and designated entities may participate only under agreement with state student grant agencies.What FAFSA Filing Status Information can a state student grant agency share with secondary schools, school districts, and designated entities under the FAFSA Completion Initiative?*
Only defined FAFSA Filing Status Information may be shared under the FAFSA Completion Initiative
and only under certain conditions, as identified in a question below. Specifically, the state student grant agency may only disclose: (1) the student’s last name; (2) the student’s first name and middle initial; (3) the student’s date of birth; (4) the student’s zip code (not full address); (5) if filed, the date the FAFSA form was submitted to the Department; (6) the date the Department processed the FAFSA form, if applicable; (7) a flag indicating the need for the FAFSA applicant to provide additional information, if applicable; and (8) a FAFSA completion status flag, as determined by the state student grant agency (i.e., FAFSA not submitted, FAFSA complete, or FAFSA incomplete).What “designated entities” can receive FAFSA Completion Information from state student grant agencies?*
A designated entity that can receive FAFSA Completion Information from a state student grant agency is a public or nonprofit entity that the Department has designated as eligible to receive FAFSA Filing Status Information. In order to be designated as eligible to receive FAFSA Filing Status Information, an entity must have an “established relationship” with the student, as defined in the SAIG. An established relationship exists for a designated entity when the student is enrolled in or has registered with or is receiving services from the designated entity in pursuit of postsecondary education. Under the FAFSA Completion Initiative, can state student grant agencies share FAFSA Filing Status Information with any entity they choose?*
No. State student grant agencies may only provide FAFSA Filing Status Information to participating schools, districts, and designated entities, and only when certain conditions are met. A state student grant agency may not provide FAFSA Filing Status Information to any other entity. In all instances, before sharing any FAFSA Filing Status Information, the state student grant agency must have a written data sharing agreement with a secondary school, school district, or designated entity.Can state student grant agencies share students’ social security numbers (SSNs), student and parent financial information, or any other information from a student’s FAFSA form, under the FAFSA Completion Initiative?*
No. The only information that may be shared under the FAFSA Completion Initiative
is the limited FAFSA Filing Status Information as described in Question 5. State agencies cannot share students’ SSNs, student and parent financial information, or any other information from the FAFSA form. What requirements must be met before a state student grant agency may share FAFSA Filing Status Information with secondary schools, school districts, and designated entities under the FAFSA Completion Initiative?*
A state student grant agency with a revised SAIG Agreement may not begin sharing FAFSA Filing Status Information until the agency has a written data sharing agreement with the school, district, or designated entity. The written agreement must include procedures for oversight by the state student grant agency; appropriate privacy and data security provisions; and assurances from the secondary school, school district, or designated entity that it will appropriately safeguard the information, that it will not redisclose the information, and that it will comply with applicable privacy laws, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).What participating secondary school, school district, or designated entity staff may have access to FAFSA Filing Status Information?*
The revised SAIG agreement limits the use of FAFSA Filing Status Information to “authorized personnel.” In general, the SAIG agreement defines “authorized personnel” to include employees, volunteers, and authorized agents, such as contractors or other parties to whom the LEA, secondary school, or designated entity has outsourced any of its services or functions and who are under the “direct control” of the participating secondary school, school district, or designated entity with respect to the use and maintenance of the information. Any disclosure of FAFSA Filing Status Information to “authorized personnel” must comply with all applicable privacy laws, such as FERPA.May a participating secondary school, school district, or designated entity redisclose or otherwise share FAFSA Filing Status Information received from a state student grant agency under the FAFSA Completion Initiative?*
FAFSA Filing Status Information received by a participating secondary school, school district, or designated entity may not be redisclosed or otherwise shared with any other entity or individual other than the FAFSA applicant and, if the FAFSA applicant is under the age of 18, with his or her parents. However, the FAFSA Filing Status Information may be shared with another party with the FAFSA applicant’s consent or the consent of the FAFSA applicant’s parents if the FAFSA applicant is under the age of 18, or if such sharing is required by law and such use is consistent with all applicable privacy laws, including the privacy provisions of section 483(a)(3)(E) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, 20 U.S.C. 1090(a)(3)(E) and FERPA, 20 U.S.C. 1232g.*Question adopted from U.S. Department of Education
For more information on FAFSA, trending questions, and resources please visit https://fafsa.ed.gov/help.htm