It has long been known that first-generation and minority groups apply to college in smaller numbers than their counterparts. Due to covid-19 and the economic uncertainty that it has created in the last year, those numbers have fallen even further. In the previous year, FASFA applications show a drop of 9.2% overall, 12.1% for low-income students, and 14.6% for students of color. What can be done to help motivate these students to apply and complete their application?
Students who were interviewed cited lack of motivation, trouble getting guardians to share their information to fill out the FASFA, and financial insecurity as the main reasons for not applying.
Helping students overcome and understand this issue is the best way to help them. The availability of staff to walk a student through each step of this process can help them to overcome insecurity by allowing them to understand the financial implication of attending school. Frequent and targeted outreach to help students stay focused on the steps through application to the first day of school can help them find the motivation to complete the process. To do these things, it is imperative that the admission staff be a resource and a proactive hand, guiding and reassuring students.
Pappano, Laura, The Heichinger Report, USA Today, March 4th 2021, Accessed March 4th, 2021