Louisiana leads in students looking for help paying for college

October 02, 2018 - 6:47 pm

(WWL.com) -- Louisiana has the highest Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) submission rates in the nation according to a new report. That means more students than ever are applying to see what financial aid they qualify for when it comes to post-secondary education.

EdTech Senior Consultant Stephanie Marcum says the 84 percent participation rate comes down to a new mandate for graduating high school seniors.

“The Board of Elementary and Secondary education implemented a policy that said as a condition of graduation, students must complete either a FAFSA or a TOPS application,” Marcum said.

And it wasn’t just in submission rate: Louisiana led the nation in growth rate as well. Marcum says it’s a great start, but there’s still quite a few students who didn’t participate, students who may have lost out on thousands in aid.

“For the 16 percent of kids that chose either to have a parental op out waiver or a hardship waiver, that equals about 94-million dollars of potentially lost aid,” said Marcum.

A Department of Education report says when you add up tuition, books, and cost of living, the average two and four year college student in the state will have to spend $20,863 to attend.

Marcum says that’s huge, because 51 percent of jobs available in the state require a post-secondary education to obtain. That’s why they’re working to let students and their families know that FAFSA isn’t just student loans for college, its scholarships, grants and other aid for a variety of continuing education.

“FAFSA can also be a two year college, or it can be various proprietary schools,” she said.

It’s estimated that by 2020, 65 percent of all jobs will require some kind of post-secondary education to obtain.

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