“Battle of the High Schools”

Palm Springs, CA – The Coachella Valley Economic Partnership (CVEP) is holding its second annual “Battle of the High Schools,” a competition to encourage high school seniors complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  As part of its effort to develop a college-educated workforce for the future economy of the Coachella Valley, CVEP will be awarding more than $10,000 in cash prizes and gift certificates to local high schools that have the highest completion rate for the FAFSA. CVEP will hold a kick-off event February 8 at 11:00 a.m. at the CVEP Offices, Rabobank Regional Business Center, 3111 East Tahquitz Canyon Way in Palm Springs,to discuss the specifics of this year’s contest and to recognize February as FAFSA month.

“FAFSA funds allow students and families – who might not otherwise – to experience the life-changing benefits of college education,” said Tom Flavin, President and CEO of CVEP.  “Every year valley students lose an opportunity for up to $8,000 each per year in free financial aid simply because they do not fill out the application forms.”

Wednesday’s kick-off will include statements from Tom Flavin and Terry Green of CVEP and proclamations from local elected officials. In attendance will be: Mayor of Coachella, Eduardo Garcia; Mayor Pro Tem of Indian Wells, William Powers; Mayor Pro Tem of Indio, Elaine Holmes; and Palm Desert Councilwoman Jan Harnik. CVEP and its partners, alongside Senators Emmerson and Vargas, and Assemblymen Nestande and Perez designated February as FAFSA month for the first time last year.

Last year 47% of valley high school seniors completed the FAFSA and CVEP awardedover 430 scholarships amounting to $1.6 million, allowing an unprecedented number of students the opportunity to pursue a higher education. This year CVEP has set a goal of 57% FAFSA completion.

The Battle of the High Schools encourages each of the valley’s high schools to compete with others in their school district.  The school in each district with the highest percentage of seniors completing the application will be awarded a cash prize of $3,000 toward their senior trip or party.  Alternative high schools will also be competing against each other for a $1,000 cash prize and College of the Desert can win $1,000 by increasing its FAFSA completion rate by ten percent

“Creating fun and excitement around the FAFSA will encourage valley students and their families to invest time in the application. This year we even did a PSA contest,” said Dr. Christine Anderson, Superintendent of the Palm Springs Unified School District and member of the CVEP Board Education Committee.

FAFSA completion workshops will be held valley-wide February 22. Students who attend the workshops will have opportunities for raffle prizes and gift certificates once they submit a completed application.

Proceeds to support the competition will be raised at a $100 per ticket CVEP fundraising event on Friday February 10, which will take place from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at the UCR Palm Desert Graduate Center.  Appetizers, wine and refreshments will be served, with live student performances provided by area high schools. For ticket information, call CVEP at 760.340.1575 or visit the CVEP website at www.cvep.com.

About CVEP

Coachella Valley Economic Partnership is an action-oriented, non-profit corporation dedicated to expanding the economy of the Coachella Valley desert region while maintaining the quality of life for a resort environment. CVEP has devoted attention to strategies of business attraction, expansion and retention during the past decade. Today, CVEP also is focusing attention on planning and nurturing the growth of new industry clusters, which include Healthcare and Life Science, Clean Technology/Energy, Supply Chain Management/Logistics and Creative Arts, Media & Design.

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