Challenges and Opportunities in Admission and Financial Aid
Challenges and Opportunities in Admission and Financial AidAnne Sussman, Director, K-12 Communications
Considering the struggling state of the economy and the rising costs associated with college, it’s no wonder that Wednesday’s “Contemporary Issues in Admission and Financial Aid” session at Forum 2015 was standing-room only. School counselors were particularly well represented in this group that had one thing on their minds: how to help more students get into and afford college.
The pressure of the college admission process and the strain it can put on students’ mental health was a hot topic. “Everyone is stressed,” said Carolyn Blair, director of counseling services at Clayton High School in Missouri, but the stress “ultimately rests on the shoulders of students as they’re trying to navigate [the college admission] process.” She went on to say that a lot of students are self-medicating because of all the stress they feel to be successful.
Christopher Watson, dean of undergraduate admission at Northwestern, said that one of his school’s goals was to support these students once they’re on campus. “They’re coming to Northwestern as stressed out as when they left [high school]. We’re adding more mental health professionals to our health offices” to help address the different needs of their students.
Speaking to the affordability of college, The Ohio State University’s Vernon Granger addressed how colleges should work to reduce the costs for students. He talked about the need for schools to be more efficient and think critically about how to lessen students’ financial burden. “How many rock climbing walls are too many?” he asked. “Two? Three? These costs are indirectly – and sometimes directly – transferred to our students.”
Other topics touched upon were FAFSA’s shift to “prior-prior year” and the importance of student diversity on campus. “Our focus once was on [recruiting] African American students,” said Granger. “Now we’re seeing many other ethnicities be the focus. It has changed the composition of our students.”