Financial Aid Demystified

Presenter: Jeremy Villar, LACC

The presentation introduces the basic concepts of financial aid, focusing on federal and state financial aid programs. Topics to be covered include the cost of attendance (COA), expected family contribution (EFC), financial need, categories, types, and sources of financial aid; the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); and special circumstances. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions throughout the presentation.

More about the importance of college fit

Research by the Pathways to College Network indicates that “Low-income, first-generation, and minority students often face a range of challenges in the college choice process that prevent them from attending colleges and universities that are a good fit and match for their needs. As a result, students are less likely to persist and graduate after enrolling in college.” This Research to Practice brief (Winter 2012) synthesizes research on college choice, fit and match.

Facilitating College Readiness through Campus Life Experiences

by Mary Beth Schaefer, St. John’s University, 2014

In a program called “College Immersion,” middle grades students spend up to one week on a local college campus, attending specially designed college classes and experiencing collegiate activities. This research study reports on findings related to two different college-middle school partnerships involved in a College Immersion program. Literature on college and career readiness suggests that the middle school years are critical for future academic success, especially for the kinds of vulnerable populations that are involved in this study. Taking middle grades students to college offers them authentic experiences that facilitate college readiness. After participation in a College Immersion program, students in both college-middle school partnerships demonstrated aspects of college readiness as outlined by Conley (2007). Following a weeklong experience of immersion in college life, students imagined a future that included post-secondary possibilities, developed college knowledge, and cultivated deeply positive feelings about college.

What does college cost?

A recent study, “Are college students borrowing blindly?” (Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings, Dec. 2014) suggests that “students who are confused about their level of borrowing make expensive mistakes that they will later come to regret.” This may actually impact their ability to compete for the higher paying jobs that would help repay their loans.