Fewer WI High School Students File FAFSA | New

(WQOW) – Now is the time for high school students to start thinking about the next step in their higher education journey.

On October 1, the free application for Federal Student Aid opened, and if this year looks like last year, high school students in the state might not apply.

FAFSA is a crucial first step in obtaining financial aid in the college admissions process. The form is a prerequisite for access to federal grants, work-study programs and loans.

Since the start of the pandemic, fewer high school students in Wisconsin have applied. According to the Wisconsin Policy Forum, the number of students filling out the financial form from 2019 to 2021 has fallen by more than 12%

High school guidance counselors said the drop is the result of limited interaction with school staff during the pandemic.

“We were doing cohorts, we weren’t with the students every day, only two days in person, so I think they probably kinda missed the opportunity to meet the school counselor with outside representatives to do fill out this form, ”said Jane Adler-Corning, school counselor at Memorial High School.

The guidance counselor said the decline in requests for financial aid went beyond the students’ intention to continue their education.

“The pandemic has created some instability as to what they want to do next, or what the world is going to be for them. So there are a lot of unknowns,” Adler-Corning continued, “So some of them they just take on a lot of mental health issues day in and day out, and that creates anxiety and strangers. “

Additionally, school officials said more and more students are choosing a different education route, enrolling in 2-year colleges and business schools instead of 4-year institutions, for fear of getting into debt.

“If the students think, ‘I want to go to a 2 year old school, I can afford it, I can pay for it myself,’ I would always tell these students every day to fill out an FAFSA. You never know what you might be eligible no matter what type of institution you go to, ”said Claire Roder, director of financial aid at CVTC.

Help counselors from CVTC’s financial aid department said they saw a slight drop in FAFSA completions, but once a student has completed the form, they are more likely to repeat it.

The FAFSA application deadline is June 30.

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