Scraping up enough money to purchase textbooks weighs heavily on the minds of many college students, according to staffers at New America.
The Washington, DC-based think tank convened students and parents this fall for a series of focus groups. The gatherings offered participants the opportunity to share their opinions about higher education and student success.
“Students and parents alike had a lot to say about the cost of tuition and the institutions themselves, and offered policy ideas they believed could alleviate some of the things that weren’t working,” New America staff members Ernest Ezeugo and Manuela Ekowo wrote in a recent blog post. “But when students were asked what they thought the most problematic aspects of college were, it was the cost of textbooks that most animated the room.”
Looking for ways to boost FAFSA completion rates in your school district?
Erin Bibo, deputy chief of college & career programs with DC Public Schools, shared success strategies in a recent column published by Homeroom — the official blog of the US Department of Education.
“Financial aid plays a huge factor in students’ college-going decisions and success,” Bibo wrote. “For a large urban district like DC Public Schools, where 77 percent of our students qualify for free and reduced price lunch, getting graduating seniors to complete their FAFSAs on time isn’t an optional task, it’s a necessary one.”
The searchable database provides weekly updates for every high school where five or more students have filed a FAFSA. The form is completed annually by current and prospective college students to determine their eligibility for financial assistance.
Editor’s Note: A version of this post originally appeared on Admitted in December 2015.
US high schools must devote more time to college counseling if they want to “see the fruit of other investments,” according to one education researcher.
In a 2015 column, New America staffer Abigail Swisher makes the case that students need both rigorous curriculum and personalized guidance to achieve their postsecondary plans.
“If we want to recreate the American high school as a place where all students have the resources for success in college and career, we need to reinvent the role of counselors,” Swisher writes, citing data from NACAC and other education associations. “This could mean reducing the caseload or number of responsibilities each counselor has, or it might mean moving to an entirely different model of support.”
“A recent study showed that students who met with a school counselor to talk about financial aid or college were three times more likely to attend college and they were nearly seven times more likely to apply for financial aid,” Obama said, referencing a NACAC report released last month. “Our school counselors are truly among the heroes of the Reach Higher story.”