How Financial Aid Awareness Affects College Access and Success

14286 Words Mar 15th, 2012 58 Pages
Paving the Way: How Financial Aid Awareness Affects College Access and Success
Literature Review
October 2008 In a time of ever-rising college costs, financial aid is critical to increase college access and success. Federal, state, and institutional aid programs help to ensure that students can afford higher education regardless of economic background. Financial aid is most effective when students and families learn about it early enough to make the right choices and plans about high school coursework, family savings, work and earnings, and college options. This literature review explores the questions of how and when students and families learn about college costs and financial aid, and how the timing and substance of that information
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a) Counselors are influential in disseminating financial aid information, especially among low-income and minority students, and their personal biases may affect the information given to students. i) Counselors are the most frequently cited source for financial aid information for high school juniors and seniors. Almost 85 percent of high school seniors hear about financial aid from teachers, counselors, or coaches (Luna De La Rosa 2006; Art & Science Group, Inc. 2000). ii) African-American, Latino, and low-income students are the most dependent on high school personnel for information about college (Perna 2004; Freeman 1997; Horn, Chen, and Chapman 2003; Terenzini, Cabrera, and Bernal 2001; Goldrick-Rab 2006; Zarate and Pachon 2006). iii) Low-income students are more likely to rely on counselors to discuss financial aid (72 percent) than their higher-income peers (34 percent) (Terenzini, Cabrera, and Bernal 2001). iv) While most high school guidance counselors (89 percent) say that student loans help low-income students attend college, more than one-third of counselors (37 percent) believe that low-income students should avoid student loans because of the risks of default (National Association for College Admission Counseling and the Project on Student Debt 2007). v) There is a positive correlation

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