CHARLESTON, W.Va. — By April 15, those with the College Foundation of West Virginia want to see the number of 12th graders in the Mountain State completing the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, climb to 60 percent.

“We know that the jobs of the state of West Virginia are changing,” said Dr. Paul Hill, chancellor for the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, noting that 50 percent of the jobs being created within the state require some for of post-secondary education.

“Because our state economy is being driven increasingly more by those who have attained post-secondary education, this is the first step in getting students to pursue that education and move into the workforce,” he said.

The Mountain State is not far from the new goal.

Among members of the Class of 2016, the FAFSA completion rate was 58.5 percent.

The following 46 high schools met or exceeded the 60 percent mark:

Bishop Donahue Memorial High School
Bluefield High School
Braxton County High School
Bridgeport High School
Brooke High School
Cabell Midland High School
Cameron High School
Capital High School
Chapmanville Regional High School
Cross Lanes Christian School
East Hardy High School
Frankfort High School
George Washington High School
Greenbrier East High School
Hedgesville High School
Hundred High School
Hurricane High School
Jefferson High School
Keyser High School
Magnolia High School
Mingo Central High School
Nicholas County High School
Nitro High School
Paden City High School
Paw Paw High School
Pendleton County Middle/High School
Petersburg High School
Pocahontas County High School
Ravenswood High School
Ripley High School
Ritchie County High School
Sissonville High School
Spring Valley High School
Tucker County High School
Tug Valley High School
Tyler Consolidated High School
University High School
Valley High School
Van Junior/Senior High School
Wahama High School
Washington High School
Webster County High School
Wheeling Park High School
Williamstown High School
Winfield High School
Wirt County High School

Updated FAFSA completion data, broken down to the county and school levels, is available HERE.

FAFSAs can be completed via fafsa.gov.

“The key to getting access to all the financial aid programs, whether they be federal or state or institutional, is through filling out that FAFSA form,” Hill said.

Filing the FAFSA allows students to be considered for federal Pell Grants of up to $5,920, the Higher Education Grant Program for as much as $2.700 and other financial aid opportunities.

More information is available at cfwv.com, West Virginia’s free college-planning website.

In past years, the FAFSA application period opened on Jan. 1 and students had to submit information from immediate prior year tax returns. This year, the application period opened on Oct. 1 and students are permitted to use tax returns from 2015, instead of waiting to file for 2016.

“It make it so much easier and, consequently, we’re seeing several thousand applications on the FAFSA form already rolling into our offices right now,” Hill said.

The FAFSA application deadline is April 15, 2017.

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