July 11, 2022

Arizona FAF$A Challenge and Ask Benji provide six students with money for college

Ask Benji—an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot that provides 24/7 assistance to students completing the free application for federal student aid (FAFSA)—recently sponsored scholarships for students who graduated from one of the six schools that won the Arizona FAF$A Challenge during the 2021-22 academic year.

Created in partnership between the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education, the Arizona Governor’s Office of Education and Education Forward Arizona, the Arizona FAF$A Challenge works to promote a state-wide challenge that encourages schools to increase their FAFSA completion rates.

The hope is that by having high schools increase their FAFSA completion rates, the state will be able to increase its overall completion rate to 78% by 2030. The Arizona FAF$A Challenge supports this goal statewide by bringing awareness to best practices that have increased FAFSA completion in schools across the state.

This year’s FAF$A Challenge winners are:

  • Dobson High School
  • Glendale High School
  • Holbrook High School
  • Pueblo High School
  • Phoenix Union BioScience High School
  • Washington High School

These schools not only had the opportunity to share their successful techniques with schools across the state during a webinar hosted by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR), but they also had one student from their 2022 graduating class become eligible for a $500 scholarship sponsored by Ask Benji.

The students who were selected for the scholarship had to complete their FAFSA and write an outstanding short essay about the importance of the FAFSA.

Congratulations to our scholarship winners!

Xinyi Lu

Xinyi recently graduated from Glendale High School and she plans on studying psychology at Arizona State University in the fall.

She says, “today, the FAFSA is very easy to complete and can create a huge impact on many students’ futures; therefore, students should take advantage and file s FAFSA no matter what.”

Samantha Munoz

Samantha graduated from Phoenix Union BioSciene High School and plans on studying nursing at Arizona State University in the fall.

She says, “I want to be the change in my family and community to place importance on a college education. With the FAFSA, I am able to take a step further to evaluate and reinvent my life through a college degree. The FAFSA is more than money, it is my future.”

Nataly Knight

Nataly graduated from Holbrook High School and plans on studying computer information systems at Northland Pioneer College in the fall.

She says, “because I filled out the FAFSA, not only was I able to find a college that lined up with my goals and interests; I also found out I am eligible for some Federal Aid. None of this would have ever happened if I hadn’t filled out the FAFSA. This is why I am a huge advocate for the FAFSA. It literally changed my life.”

Ashley Trinidad

Ashley graduated from Washington High School and plans on attending Phoenix College in the fall.

She says, “the FASFA has the power to allow students to believe they have an opportunity to achieve success and that their success is not limited because of their financial status. It allows students to know that somebody is out there rooting for them. For them to go out and achieve their education and give themselves a better life. Hope is the reason why the FASFA is important.”

Nayeli C Paredes Gaxiola

Nayeli graduated from Pueblo High School and plans on studying nursing at the University of Arizona in the fall.

She says, “I am very thankful for the people that helped me to complete this important federal form because it has opened a variety of opportunities to help me pay for my future nursing degree at the University of Arizona. As we all know, college is very expensive, and it seems like the prices of attending postsecondary education institutions just keeps rising. Completing the FAFSA helped me qualify for Pell Grants, which are free money, and it has offered me different methods to pay for my education”

Zukeiry Ibarra

Zukeiry recently graduated from Dobson High School and she plans on attending Arizona State University in the fall.

She says, “Personally, I received one on one help filling out my FAFSA and when I got my estimated amount, my family and I were very relieved. FAFSA is important because it provides hope and opportunities for all graduating students.”