This it s graphic showing a photo of a smiling female student with text:  "I love it.  I feel it is a fun incentive to get seniors who are behind on doing their FAFSA to get it done."  Olivia Sutherland, Watervliet High  School #Learn by Heart.  At Watervliet, we LEARN BY HEART!  Thank you for working together to keep us together!

Thanks to Principal Christina Powers and Counselor Jamie Dawson, more students at Watervliet High School are increasing their odds of receiving financial aid for college or vocational school by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)!

Once again, Watervliet High School is taking part in the Michigan College Access Network Campaign. This year, the school’s goal is to have 100 percent of the senior class complete and submit their FAFSA applications.  Powers explained the impact of completing the FAFSA, saying  that 90 percent of seniors who submit a FAFSA are enrolled in post secondary education the following year.  

The FAFSA is a vital step for students who are applying for financial aid for college, including scholarships and grants. The task of completing the form can be daunting for both parents and students alike. However, without financial aid, many students will not be able to afford to attend college or trade school.

Principal Powers is providing a little extra incentive for students to complete the FAFSA. Seniors who have completed their FAFSA can win cash, gift certificates or services donated by area businesses, individuals and organizations. Winners are selected by drawings held weekly from January to April. 

 “We’ve had a great response this year,” said Principal Powers. “Lots of businesses and organizations have donated cash and gift cards.”  

Olivia Sutherland says of the weekly drawings, “I love it. I feel it is a fun incentive to get seniors who are behind on doing their FAFSA to get it done.”  

Every senior is being contacted personally with the offer of assistance with the FAFSA if they need it.  To this end, Powers and Dawson have brought Julia Troyer onboard to serve as our FAFSA Specialist.  Dawson and Troyer are both available to assist students; Troyer is even available evenings to work with parents who have questions about filling out the forms.

 “I really wanted to complete it so that I could see how much money I was getting before I chose a college,” Senior Jarvis Grzanich said. “I'd tell (fellow classmates) it's worth the time and effort, especially if you plan on attending a college or university.”  

Grzanich isn’t alone.  Often, the amount of financial aid they receive can affect the decision about if and where students attend college.  Filling out the FAFSA is a key element for seniors to start thinking about what their future might look like beyond the walls of their high school.

Parents and students can find out more information about the FAFSA and find the application at 

We’re proud of Principal Christina Powers and Guidance Counselor Jamie Dawson for helping Watervliet High School students Learn by Heart!