College Financial Aid Applications Are Down 10% Among High School Seniors
With less than a week before the March 2 priority deadline, only around one-third of California high school seniors have completed an application for a Cal Grant, according to the California Student Aid Commission. That's a 10% decline compared to this time last year.
High school counselors and groups like GEAR UP 4 LA are working overtime to try to keep students on track for college. Applying for financial aid is a crucial step.
"This is our kids' future. We know that if they don't secure financial aid, they're less likely to attend [college]. We know that if they don't go to college right now, the chances of them going later decreases," said Janicia Centeno-Castillo, assistant director of GEAR UP 4 LA.
Centeno-Castillo and others who work with high schoolers say the pandemic's forced isolation has taken a toll on students' motivation and their ability to look beyond daily survival. Some are also skeptical of whether they'll be able to study on campus next year.
"The kids feel a little strung along. We can say, 'hey look, it's looking better,' but at the end of the day, there's so much doubt right now, and a lot of fear," Centeno-Castillo said.
- Isolation, Imposter Syndrome, Snail Mail: Why Fewer High School Seniors Are Applying For Financial Aid For College