Student aid applications up this year
More Ohio high school students completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) this year, suggesting a college enrollment uptick could be coming after a pandemic slump.
- Rates are up in over half of Central Ohio districts, with many trending above a state-average 61%, per new state data for the Class of 2022.
Why it matters: More completed FAFSAs not only means more high schoolers are considering college, but also that prospective students will be fully informed of their aid options.
- This is a priority for the state, which awarded $1.8 million last year to college access groups, educational service centers and colleges to encourage more FAFSA completion.
How it works: Students provide family demographic and financial information for the government to determine if they're eligible for federal grants or student loans.
What's more: FAFSA completion is a prerequisite for many scholarships, including those awarded directly from colleges.
- Students who don't finish it could be leaving money on the table, Kirsten Crotte, Otterbein University's senior director of financial aid, tells Axios.
Zoom in: Columbus seniors registered a massive completion leap of 35%, up to 94% total.
- One factor: The Class of 2022 is the first to participate in Columbus Promise, a partnership providing free tuition to Columbus State Community College that requires FAFSA completion.
- Over 600 graduates enrolled — double the number of CCS grads who attended Columbus State last year.
Of note: The rates posted by the Ohio Department of Higher Education may not be exact, a spokesperson tells Axios.
- They're calculated using the grade 12 student headcount that districts report each October, but enrollment often fluctuates throughout the year.
Meanwhile, college access program I Know I Can has been reconnecting with Columbus students through family workshops, classroom presentations and promo tables at sporting events and graduations.
- A new partnership with the Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio's mobile unit took the group to 14 sites across the city.
What they're saying: Advisers meeting with students in person, post pandemic shutdowns, "makes a world of difference" and prevents them falling through the cracks, Ashley Logan, I Know I Can director of college advising, tells Axios.
The latest: The Class of 2023 FAFSA opened Oct. 1 and early figures suggest a nationwide increase, Forbes reports.
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