Minnesota sets goal of having 75% of high school seniors complete the FAFSA

2021-10-25 18:34:21 –

Minnesota education authorities have set a positive new goal of increasing the percentage of senior state high schools applying for college financial assistance by 25% over the next five years.

Only 48% of Minnesota seniors in the 2021 class submitted a free application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA). It has the lowest share in the state in recent years and is ranked near the bottom of the country. State education leaders want Minnesota’s FAFSA completion rate to increase by 5% each year until it reaches about 75%.

“FAFSA submissions are actually considered to be the only and greatest indicator that students will enter college after graduating from high school,” said Dennis Olson, Minnesota Higher Education Commissioner. I have. “

FAFSA is an important step in the college admission process and determines student eligibility for federal grants, loans, and research funding.

Increasing the proportion of older people who submit forms can help boost admission to state universities, many of which Students lost during a pandemic, Officials say. It can also help the state achieve its goal of having 70% of Minnesotan aged 25-44 get a higher education degree or certificate by 2025.

However, seniors in Minnesota, who are graduating next spring, have been delayed in completing FAFSA and are filing. 10% down From this time last year.

Chris George, Dean of Admissions and Financial Assistance at St. Olaf College in Northfield, said: “If we don’t see students opt in, we’ll all suffer.”

School counselors and state officials say the COVID-19 pandemic helped reduce the number of older people submitting FAFSA. The tedious process of applying for financial assistance may not be a major priority, as students have tackled the turmoil of their private lives, the pressure to financially support their families, and the fatigue of distance learning.

Some people do not complete FAFSA because they think they are not eligible for assistance. Many people fill out the form to find out that they can actually afford to go to college.

According to Olson, the state’s Department of Higher Education and the Ministry of Education are working with local high schools, universities and advocacy groups to achieve new goals. Since the completion rate of some ethnic minority students is less than 30%, they are particularly focused on getting more colored students to submit FAFSA.

Olson said state legislators want to consider incentive programs or additional funding for local school districts that are actively trying to increase FAFSA submission rates in the coming years. ..

Minnesota can also benefit from increasing the number of school counselors who often help guide students to higher education, Olson said. The state currently has one of the worst student-counselor ratios in the country.

“Our counselors are certainly the first point of contact for students,” he said.

Tanis Henderson, co-chairman of the Minnesota School Counselors Association, said the state wants to create a FAFSA information brochure that schools can distribute to students and families.

“The Higher Education Department is good at putting together some of those things, but I’m not sure if the message will reach those who are actually experiencing it,” said Henderson, a counselor at Grand Rapids High School. Stated. “It really has to be a multifaceted approach.”

Some Minnesota college advocacy groups are asking the state to complete FAFSA as a high school graduation requirement. This is a step they believe will result in more older people pursuing higher education. A few states do this, including Louisiana and Texas.

Olson calls the state’s goal a “starting point” and is likely to pave the way for new measures to support it. But he said there are many efforts that can be made to improve the state’s FAFSA filing rate before promoting such requirements.

“I’m not saying it’s off the table, but there’s a long way to go,” Olson said.

Ryan Faircross • 612-673-4234

Twitter: @ryanfairclot

Minnesota sets goal of having 75% of high school seniors complete the FAFSA Source link Minnesota sets goal of having 75% of high school seniors complete the FAFSA

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