Last week, the Department of Education wrapped up its four-day virtual Federal Student Aid (FSA) Training Conference. The conference mainly serves as an annual training for financial aid professionals who disburse federal aid to students on campus.
COVID-19 has created a great deal of uncertainty among students and families, as well as admission and financial aid professionals. Foremost among these uncertainties is the fact that there has been a 15 percent decline in FAFSA submissions from high school seniors nationwide compared with the same time last year.
Now, more than ever, students and families need information and support to complete the financial aid process.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recently released new transfer guides for student-athletes currently attending a two- or four-year institution and planning to transfer to a four-year NCAA school.
Applying for financial aid can be a complicated task that requires significant time and effort for students and their families. According to recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, although 65 percent of students who were high school freshmen in 2009 ultimately reported completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), 24 percent did not. Those who did not submit a FAFSA cited lack of awareness, lack of understanding of FAFSA requirements, and lack of time as barriers to completion.
On Sept. 17, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a hearing titled “Time to Finish Fixing the FAFSA.” Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and ranking member Patty Murray (D-WA) have both sponsored FAFSA simplification legislation.
How can college admission professionals help students who have a disability transition to college? How can students advocate for themselves to access the resources they need?
View a transcript of our most recent #NACACchat. Special guests included Jill Corbin, director of college and transition counseling at Denver Academy and NACAC Learning Differences Special Interest Group leader; Annie Tulkin, founder and director of Accessible College, where she provides college transition support for students with physical disabilities and health conditions nationally; and Elizabeth C. Hamblet, college learning disabilities specialist at LDadvisory, which provides advice on college topics for students with learning disabilities or ADHD.
Despite recent concerns about new international student enrollment at US colleges and universities, nearly all universities (91 percent) that enrolled international students over the summer anticipate that those students will remain through fall 2020, according to survey findings in a new report from the Institute of International Education (IIE).
According to the survey, 50 percent of the institutions reported fewer international applicants for fall 2020 than in previous years. Decreases in applications may be due to the economic impact of Covid-19, which is driving students—US and international—to consider other academic options or gap years. The decrease may also reflect students’ preferences to wait for economic stability before deciding to apply.
Among the institutions surveyed, 286 indicated that a total of 57,555 new international students had committed to their institutions; an additional 4,488 had already deferred to spring 2021 or beyond at the time the data was collected.
Due to the uncertainties around students’ ability to come to the US, however, institutions are offering several options. Most institutions are offering students the ability to defer their enrollment to spring 2021 (87 percent) or to enroll online through distance education (78 percent). Even though virtual enrollment will be the reality for many students this fall, the report warns of some long-term challenges when implementing virtual enrollment: decreases in enrollment (75 percent); issues accessing online courses (68 percent); and, an increase in withdrawals (48 percent).
While many international students are still considering enrolling in a US institution, their decision will depend on what options institutions will offer to students unable to travel to the US this fall.
Tiziana G. Marchante is NACAC’s project coordinator for educational content & policy. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can counselors and others best assist high school juniors who are kicking off their college search amid the shutdown?
View a transcript of our most recent #NACACchat. Special guests included Jill Cook, assistant director with the American School Counselor Association; Lindsey Barclay, member services manager with the National College Attainment Network; Jennifer Davis, digital content marketing manager with The Common Application; and Tracy Jackson, school counseling supervisor with Loudoun County Public Schools.
What should students and families know about financial aid during these unprecedented times?
Experts from The Urban Assembly, the Seldin/Harring-Smith Foundation, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, the National College Attainment Network, and the National Scholarship Providers Association shared their thoughts during a recent #NACACchat.
Louisiana became the first state in the nation in 2018 to set FAFSA completion as a high school graduation requirement.
Since then, Illinois and Texas have adopted similar policies and several other states are weighing the option.
Officials from Louisiana recently shared their state’s story during a webinar organized by the Education Commission of the States. During the hour-long presentation, education leaders explained the process Louisiana followed when adopting the new requirement and discussed how counselors can support students as they file for financial aid.
Strategies to attract and recruit international students were a topic of discussion earlier this month during a seminar hosted in Washington, DC, by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Coimbra Group of Brazilian Universities (GCUB).
The event brought key higher education leaders together to strengthen existing partnerships in the Americas and highlight new recruitment and exchange possibilities.