NASHVILLE, TN (TN Tribune) – Only 42 percent of Davidson County high school seniors who have submitted a Tennessee Promise application have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as of January 5, according to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission FAFSA Filing Map.

Davidson County is lagging behind the state average in FAFSA completion. In 2021, nearly 76% of Tennessee Promise Applicants finished the FAFSA. To remain eligible for Tennessee Promise, students must complete the FAFSA by the deadline of February 1, 2022.

That is why the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (THEC/TSAC) have launched the inaugural TN FAFSA Challenge in order to increase the FAFSA completion rate among students in Tennessee and to open the door to free scholarships, grants and other forms of financial aid that can kick-start college and career success.

In recent years, Tennessee has led the nation in the amount of financial aid awarded per student, awarding over $500 million annually in financial aid to Tennessee students according to the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO). Filing a FAFSA is the first step students must take to apply for most state and federal financial aid for college.

To assist in navigating the FAFSA process, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation have curated a number of resources for students and schools to support Tennessee’s FAFSA completion efforts. Student resources include step-by-step FAFSA-filing instructions and videos. School resources include guides focused on helping high schools strengthen their FAFSA completion numbers.