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Perry County High School Earns FAFSA Champion Status

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission and the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation are celebrating Perry County High School as a FAFSA Champion for the 2022-2023 academic year.

This designation is awarded to schools whose Tennessee Promise FAFSA completion rate increased by 5+% over the previous year, or those whose Tennessee Promise FAFSA completion rate exceeds 90%.

Completing a FAFSA opens the door for thousands of dollars in state and federal financial aid for Tennessee’s students.

The goal is that every eligible Tennessee high school senior has the opportunity to make plans for college and succeed, and completing a FAFSA is a critical first step, especially before the Tennessee Promise deadline.

As part of The Ayers Foundation Scholars Program, Perry County High School’s commitment to college access emphasizes the importance of college and career exploration and educates students and families about the financial aid opportunities available to them.

Founded in 1999, the Ayers Scholars Program features a unique model to help students succeed.

The Ayers Foundation provides full-time, trained advisors to serve as coaches, guides, and technical and emotional supporters to students from 8th grade through the postsecondary experience and beyond.

Karlee Teague is an Ayers Scholars counselor at Perry County High, and Betty Bell is the program’s financial aid assistant at the school. For them, time was of the essence when it came to FAFSA completions.

“We start early by teaching our seniors the importance of the FAFSA. We schedule individual meetings with students, and we also set up appointments with parents. Additionally, we stress the importance of the deadline so that it’s always top-of-mind for our students,” Teague said.

Students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are more likely to enroll in higher education, persist in their college coursework, and obtain a degree.

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.




FAFSA CHAMPION: Local FAFSA partners include Perry County Mayor John Carroll, Perry County Schols Supervisor Ginger Cagle, Ayers Foundation Scholars Program Financial Aid Assistant Betty Bell, PCHS Guidance Counselor Angel Moore, PCHS Principal Blake Skelton, and Perry County Director of Schools Eric Lomax. Not pictured: Ayers Foundation College Access Coordinator Karlee Teague. See story.

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