FAFSA as Barrier

Yet more on the ways that the complications of financial aid forms may discourage low-income students from attending college:  This study by Mary Feeney at the University of Illinois Chicago found that the students most needing financial aid were most likely to miss deadlines, in part because of confusing directions, shifting deadlines, complications in getting parents’ financial information, and misunderstandings about whether they actually are eligible for financial aid.

“Completing the application requires a considerable amount of effort and social capital — personal networks that students can draw on to gain information,” Feeney said. “Students who have access to an adult who understands the process — a relative, guidance counselor, clergy member, or someone at a neighborhood association — are significantly more likely to complete the form and attend college.”

I grow weary of how often I hear that we depend on people outside of colleges and universities to communicate  basic information about getting into and then succeeding in college, all the while pretending that access to college is a level playing field.


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