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Rising costs of education, housing, and living have made it increasingly difficult for many students in Marin to continue their learning journey after high school. Indeed, it is a well-established fact that students are far more likely to enroll in a post-secondary program if they’ve submitted a financial aid application while in high school; accordingly, many states have now begun to mandate this as a high school graduation requirement and California is beginning to take notice.
Between tax forms, overlapping deadlines, and bureaucratic jargon, financial aid applications are tough for any student to complete. Add to that, language barriers, a mistrust of sharing information with the government, and stereotypes associated with needing financial assistance in “wealthy Marin,” and the barrier to successfully applying for financial aid gets even higher. Unfortunately, it is often the students who need the most financial aid that have the least support navigating the system.
This is why the Enrollment Action Team has prioritized Financial Aid form completion as a vital step in increasing post-secondary program enrollment. To do this the Team has identified and implemented several collaborative practice shifts. These shifts have resulted in Marin students submitting more financial aid applications than ever before, and it’s starting to pay off as the enrollment gap begins to close.