The Relationship Between College Enrollment and Financial Aid Is Getting Even Stronger

Why is applying for financial aid for college important?

Because, according to the U.S. Department of Education, nine out of every 10 students who complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) actually go on to attend college the following fall.

And the Bold Goals Coalition of Central Alabama is pleased to report that, due to a collaborative effort encouraging applications for student financial aid, 14.44% more Alabama high school seniors applied for aid through the FAFSA program in 2017 than last year. That was the ninth highest increase nationally among all 50 states.

“Having a post-secondary education is essential to be competitive in today’s workforce…and by 2020, 62% of jobs in Alabama are going to require a post-secondary education or certificate. But you’ve got to know how to pay for it,” said Kristina Scott, Executive Director of Alabama Possible, which is part of the Bold Goals Coalition.

Alabama Possible’s “Cash for College” program has been a driving force behind the FAFSA increase, together with many collaborative partners, including Jefferson State Community College, Blue Cross Blue Shield (Caring Foundation), Birmingham Business Alliance, Alabama Community College System, Birmingham City Schools, Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Alabama State Department of Education and the University of Montevallo.

“This is a great example of the power of a coalition,” said Sara Newell, United Way’s Senior Vice President for Community Impact and lead staff for the Bold Goals Coalition. “This FASFA project is one of those levers that you can pull to really change the trajectory of college readiness and likeliness to enroll,” she said.

“One of the biggest things we hear when working with students and families is that they had no idea they can use funds via FAFSA to study automotive technology at Lawson State or go to Jeff State and be a welder,” said Kristina.

That changes everything.