WA STEM Data:
Financial aid application completion is an indicator of being on-track to obtaining a postsecondary credential and having access to a family-wage job. Like many civil rights issues, not all youth have systemic support for financial aid completion. Despite some of the best financial aid programs in all 50 states, Washington historically has some of the lowest completion rates, particularly among populations who are oppressed. Put into clear terms, youth and families who are furthest from educational and institutional justice often face systemic barriers when navigating financial aid completion. The opportunity for all youth to have access to a bright future means systemic support for financial aid completion via the three ways a student can apply for financial aid: FAFSA, WASFA, or the apprenticeship financial aid application, is critical.
West Sound STEM Network, through intensive collaboration among regional STEM Networks and their districts, non-profit, higher education, statewide and community partners, has, and will continue to, provide targeted support to students, families, and school districts to increase Financial Aid completion rates. We work to leverage community-based partnerships to increase financial aid filing assistance and further develop a college-going culture in communities furthest from opportunity, host informational sessions for students and families, train trusted community partners as Financial Aid Navigators and engage in outreach, especially for those students who are under-represented in financial aid applicants and who have been historically excluded from higher education opportunities and postsecondary credentials that are pathways to self-sufficiency and career success.
Find out more about the ongoing efforts to increase completion rates in Washington by reading the Financial Aid Completion Playbook, developed by WSSN and its many partners.