June 2023

Advancing Financial Aid Accessibility: Learning from Success in LA Unified

Financial aid access has surged over the past two years with the implementation of AB 469, which requires all high school seniors to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application (CADAA). This requirement will make college access more equitable for students in historically under-resourced communities by strengthening the college-going culture in high schools and ensuring that the approximately $550 million in financial aid historically left on the table by students can support their college access and success. Los Angeles Unified School District has experienced notable success, particularly in its highest-need schools.

In this brief, we capture the learnings and growth from FAFSA/CADAA completions and share five key practices and five recommendations that strengthen the implementation of the FAFSA/CADAA mandate.

Practice #1: School counselors are aligned around the importance of FAFSA/CADAA completion.
Practice #2: The state mandate, as well as LA Unified’s resolution, have created a level of accountability around increasing FAFSA/CADAA completion.
Practice #3: School staff have created more opportunities for students to complete the FAFSA/CADAA application.
Practice #4: School staff engage families as critical partners in FAFSA/CADAA completion
Practice #5: Some LA Unified regions have partnered with local community colleges, government entities, and community-based organizations to support FAFSA/CADAA completion.

Read the full brief, including recommendations below. Download the brief in Spanish here.

This brief is brought to you by The Len Hill Civil Rights Project at the Partnership for LA Schools — working to advance policy to ensure that all students access their civil right to a high-quality education.