Efforts get more seniors to fill out college aid forms

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The West Contra Costa Unified School District saw a 23-percent increase in the number of seniors who completed their federal financial aid applications last year, according to school advocates.

In 2012, 33-percent of district students filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) by the March 2 deadline. That number reportedly shot up to to 56-percent last year following intervention from the West Contra Costa Public Education Fund, which worked in collaboration with the district and college access providers to get students to fill out the forms.

This year, the lofty goal is to make certain all seniors in the district complete their FASFA forms, with 70-percent submitting their application before the March 2 deadline, officials said.

The Ed Fund also wants the district to “institutionalize” the filling out of college aid applications and to declare January “Financial Aid Awareness Month” in WCCUSD. The ongoing effort is scheduled to be discussed at Wednesday’s board of education meeting.

“As indicated through national studies, paying for college is the number one barrier keeping kids out of college,” officials with the Ed Fund stated in city documents. “Recent studies indicate that increasing FAFSA completion also results in increased college going rates for districts.”

The Ed Fund was founded in 1983 in response to the decline in public funding that resulted from the passage of Proposition 13.

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