With the nation’s lowest rate of high school seniors completing application,
Utah kids miss out on grants, loans and scholarships.
Only 34 percent of high school seniors in the Beehive State complete the FAFSA. That number puts Utah dead last in the nation for its rate of FAFSA completion by high school seniors, according to a new report from the National Center for Educational Statistics and Department of Education. An analysis from NerdWallet reports that Utah students left a whopping $45.5 million in Pell Grants on the table last year, and key players don’t seem to know why. FAFSA can also be the path to scholarships from the state and colleges, and loans.
On March, 18, 2015, the Salt Lake Tribune published an article entitled “Why don’t Utah students want money for college?” According to the article, there are several reasons:
- FAFSA myths.
- A debt-averse population.
- Students need to fill out an application every year.
- Access to information from school counselors.
Another reason that I would add to this list is that students have the misconception that they should not have to do anything in order to receive money for college. I see this every day as I work with students who will not complete FAFSA or scholarship applications because it requires time and effort. But as I constantly remind them, the easiest and most time-efficient way to earn money for college is to complete these applications.
For example, if a student spends 1 hour completing a FAFSA application and they receive a $1,000 grant, they have earned $1,000 per hour…an amount that is impossible for a high school student to earn (unless they are earning it illegally). If that same student spends 10 hours completing 10 scholarship applications and receives one $500 scholarship, they have just earned $50 per hour. Again, this is an amount that most high school students cannot earn…and if they can, please let me know how!