How Commuity College Students Can Get More Financial Aid

Community colleges are a critical part of our nation’s education system, serving nearly half of all undergraduates in the United States who are working to earn the degrees and training needed in today’s increasingly competitive job market. Yet millions of dollars in financial aid are left on the table each year by low- and moderate-income students attending community colleges.

The Financial Aid Challenge: Successful Practices that Address the Underutilization of Financial Aid in Community Colleges, a new report released by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center, found that although these students are eligible for need-based federal financial aid, they are the least likely to apply for funds.

Read the report here.

Developed in collaboration with the American Association of Community Colleges, the study shows that:

  • In the 2007-08 academic year, 58 percent of Pell Grant-eligible students who attended community colleges either full or part-time applied for federal financial aid, compared with 77 percent of eligible students at four-year public institutions
  • During the two-year period from fall 2007 to fall 2009, full-time enrollment at U.S. community colleges increased by 24.1 percent
  • Students are reluctant to apply for aid in part due to a lack of basic understanding, inconsistent or inaccurate information, distrust of government agencies, difficulty using resources during designated hours and a lack of human or technological resources on campus

The Financial Aid Challenge highlights a dozen programs that are making strides in increasing the number of community college students accessing financial aid, and provides concrete recommendations to community college leaders and administrators. The report was released at a press conference in Washington, D.C., on May 19, 2010.

Download The Financial Aid Challenge   

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