FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership’s Big Goal Collaborative is collaborating with NIPSCO to launch a regional FAFSA Completion Competition for regional high schools. The competition runs through March 10.
The goal of the competition is to increase the amount of high school students completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Filling out the FAFSA, a government form that streamlines the college financial aid process, is a must to qualify for assistance and reduce student loan burden.
Three winning high schools will each be given a $1,500 scholarship to award to a graduating senior. There are three categories to win:
- Greatest overall growth – the school that experiences the highest growth in FAFSA submissions over the previous year.
- Growth of 5 percent or more – all schools that experience 5 percent or more growth over the previous year will be entered in a drawing for the scholarship.
- Completion rate of 75 percent or more – all schools that have a FAFSA completion rate of 75 percent or more will be entered in a drawing for the scholarship.
Schools that satisfy more than one will be entered into the category that gives them the best chance of winning. Winners will be announced mid-April.
“NIPSCO is committed to education. To reach the Big Goal, we know we must collaborate to increase educational attainment in the region to 60 percent. The FAFSA Completion Competition is perfectly aligned with NIPSCO’s 100-year history of supporting the communities we serve. The Big Goal has the potential to increase wages, raise overall economic wealth, meet the needs of existing businesses and create more jobs,” said Dana Berkes, public affairs manager at NIPSCO.
The Big Goal is one of seven priorities identified by Vision 2020. It aims to increase the percentage of Northeast Indiana residents with high-quality degrees or credentials to 60 percent by 2025.
“Northeast Indiana’s ambitious goal to increase educational attainment in the region to 60 percent is critical to meeting the talent needs of regional employers. By encouraging schools across the region to further engage their students to increase FAFSA completion, we are providing students with easier access to financial aid and scholarships,” said Joshua Wenning, executive director of the Region 8 Education Service Center and a member of the Big Goal Collaborative’s High School Action Team.
In addition, several organizations are collaborating to offer free FAFSA assistance workshops for Northeast Indiana residents at locations in Allen and DeKalb counties.
Students and families can also get help completing the FAFSA by going online to www.fafsa.ed.gov or calling 1-800-433-3243.
About the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership
The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership was formed in 2006 to build a globally competitive economy in Northeast Indiana. It is a public-private partnership with the mission to build, market and sell Northeast Indiana to increase business investment. In 2010, the Partnership launched Vision 2020 to bring the region together around five key areas for economic growth: 21st Century Talent, Competitive Business Climate, Entrepreneurship, Infrastructure and Quality of Life. The Partnership supports 11 member counties: Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties. For more information, visit www.neindiana.com.
About NIPSCO: Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), with headquarters in Merrillville, Indiana, has proudly served the energy needs of northern Indiana for more than 100 years. As Indiana’s largest natural gas distribution company and the second-largest electric distribution company, NIPSCO serves approximately 810,000 natural gas and 460,000 electric customers across 32 counties. NIPSCO is part of NiSource’s (NYSE: NI) seven regulated utility companies. NiSource is one of the largest fully regulated utility companies in the United States, serving approximately 4 million natural gas and electric customers through its local Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands. More information about NIPSCO and NiSource is available at NIPSCO.com and NiSource.com.
Associate Director of Regional Initiatives
Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership