Community college students often don’t realize they’re eligible for federal aid or how to apply, reports Community College Times, citing a College Board Advocacy & Policy Center report on The Financial Aid Challenge.
In the 2007-08 academic year, 58 percent of Pell Grant-eligible students who attended a public two-year college full time or part time applied for federal financial aid, compared to 77 percent of eligible students at public four-year colleges, according to the report.
Without aid, low- and moderate-income students often increase their work hours and cut class hours, the report concludes. That lowers their chances of completing a degree or certificate.
Two-year colleges with high rates of students applying for federal aid reach out to students personally and make applying for student aid a part of the enrollment process, the report said. They don’t wait for students to make the first contact, it said.
The College Foundation of North Carolina, which provides statewide training in financial aid, has increased applications for federal student aid by 50 percent in the last year, the report said.
Applying for financial aid should be part of the college enrollment and registration process, College Board recommends. The report also suggests that community colleges work together to “establish a common system for financial aid administration.”
Young people who fail to finish college often are going it alone financially, concludes a Public Agenda survey. The challenge of working and keeping up with classwork becomes too much.