How Ask Benji is helping more than 100 high schools meet their FAFSA goal

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Ask Benji is available to partner with your school!

With the current academic year coming to an end, the Ask Benji team is already preparing to start supporting next year’s seniors with filling out their Free Application for Federal Aid form (FAFSA) and helping schools boost their FAFSA rates.

What is Ask Benji?

Benji is an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot that provides 24/7 assistance to students completing the FAFSA.

Benji delivers timely, personalized nudges, prompts and information via text messages to students’ cell phones across Arizona. These texts include next steps for FAFSA completion, invitations to nearby college readiness events and general college-going information.

How does Ask Benji benefit my school?

Ask Benji gives your school extra support for FAFSA completion by providing students and families with immediate, expert assistance on the FAFSA and financial aid process—and it’s free for students and schools!

Benji also sends nudges that prompt them to stay on top of FAFSA dates. 

In fact, research indicates that text-based outreach increased timely enrollment for non-FAFSA completers by a statistically significant margin of 20 percentage points.

Dr. Michael B. Garcia

“We would definitely recommend Ask Benji for any district,” said Dr. Michael B. Garcia, director of opportunity & achievement at Mesa Public School. “School districts really have nothing to lose with Ask Benji. It is a service that benefits a district’s college, career and community readiness efforts, especially when it comes to FAFSA completion. It’s also easy to implement and for students to use.”

Why is FAFSA completion so important?

One of the most effective ways to boost educational attainment is to ensure that more students have the financial resources needed to pursue a postsecondary education or credential. One of the greatest tools in reducing the financial barrier is the FAFSA.

Arizona’s high school class of 2021 left an estimated $104 million on the table by not completing the FAFSA, according to a National College Attainment Network (NCAN) analysis. On average, Arizona students who fill out the FAFSA secure $10,000 a year in federal financial aid. 

FAFSA completion is also strongly associated with postsecondary enrollment with 92% of seniors who completed a FAFSA enrolling in a postsecondary institution—a university, community college or career and technical education.

How can my school get involved?

Schools are encouraged to start the process of partnering with Ask Benji as soon as possible, so their seniors can start receiving messages in the fall.  

If you are interested in bringing Ask Benji to your school or district, you can email Lauren Miller or visit the Ask Benji website to learn more and see which schools are already working with Ask Beni!

If you are a student or parent interested in Ask Benji, opting in is as easy as texting “Hi Benji” to 602-786-8171.

The post How Ask Benji is helping more than 100 high schools meet their FAFSA goal appeared first on Education Forward Arizona.