In Their Own Words: NCAN Members and Students on Why We Must #FixFAFSA

August 23, 2016

By Allie Ciaramella, Communications Manager

NCAN is publishing a series of stories from network members and their students about the importance of federal financial aid and a simpler FAFSA form. Please help us spread the word by posting these stories on social media using the hashtag #FixFAFSA. Members interested in sharing their own stories should contact Communications Manager Allie Ciaramella.

We heard this week from the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance and Oscar McClain, a high-achieving sophomore at the historically black land-grant institution Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge. Oscar understands from experience that taking your time and checking for errors on the form is critical, but advises others to “fill out the application as soon as possible, because you will feel as if you are free.”  

Earlier this month, Alan Byrd, Jr., co-chair of St. Louis Graduates and dean of enrollment at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, argued that “our students need our support and our voices more than ever.” He recalled one female student who was valedictorian of her high school class and received a generous scholarship to an out-of-state private college – but the remaining unmet need forced her to give up on her dream school.

And Joshua Sparks, who struggled to find the path to college from his low-income background in Eastern Kentucky, but managed to do so with help from Kentucky College and Career Connection (Ky3C) Coalition programs. Now, he’s pursuing his doctoral studies while serving as a mentor to his younger peers. “Students with stories like mine run the risk of slipping through the system,” Joshua says.

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