Our goal with this Financial Aid Toolkit is to equip educators, youth program workers and anyone else who would like to assist high school students with completing financial aid forms with regional tools and strategies that support their work.
What is the PSCCN financial aid toolkit? The financial aid toolkit is an online resource that was designed for schools, district staff and community organizations to access centralized financial aid resources to support students and families with the financial aid application process.
What is included in this toolkit?
- Guidance on challenging financial aid scenarios.
- Communications/Promotional materials including posters and student stickers.
- Family materials including financial aid presentations and sample letters.
- Implementation guides for financial aid completion strategies.
- Student materials including presentations and activities accompanied with facilitation guides.
Why is financial aid important? Financial aid is an essential part of the culminating college readiness experience. Applying for the FAFSA or WASFA is a complex process. It is our hope that this toolkit will provide you with accessible resources that are clear for students and parents and can be used to help remove barriers for students to access money for college. We are focusing on financial aid for the following reasons:
- 90 percent of high school graduates who apply for financial aid go directly to college.
- Financial aid is required for federal aid, state aid, scholarships and loans. Even higher-income students need to complete FAFSA or WAFSA.
- Students who pursue financial aid have more options when they graduate from high school.
- Financial aid is a regional priority and this toolkit is an opportunity to learn from and leverage effective local practices and resources.
- The current climate is a barrier for undocumented students, immigrant communities, families and others. It is important to emphasize inclusion of and support for these groups.
- The process may require different strategies for each student, including more than one meeting or event and continuous follow-up with some students.
- Engaging a broad team can help reach more students. Partners and other staff (bilingual aides, family liaisons, school counselors) are working very hard to reach all students. These resources can help them feel more knowledgeable and prepared to do the heavy lifting.
- Financial aid completion is a community-wide effort, meaning that it is everybody’s responsibility to increase it.
- In the next five years, there will be 740,000 job openings in Washington state, and 70 percent of all jobs in Washington will require a college education by 2020. A barrier to college completion is lack of funds for college.
Our intent is that these resources grow with time and with your suggestions and as innovative practices evolve. We are interested in gathering information from personnel who have accessed or received materials for general feedback, and to determine how they received material, used materials, and if additional support is needed. If you accessed PSCCN Financial Aid Toolkit materials this school year, please complete a short survey here.