Gazette-Mail: Grant to help Kanawha students get help with financial aid

Charleston is one of 22 metropolitan areas nationwide to receive a $55,000 grant geared toward getting more high school seniors to complete the paperwork to get financial aid.

The grant, from the National College Access Network, was announced Tuesday morning by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. The award comes as the commission celebrates earlier news that, according to NCAN, West Virginia was one of only four states in the country to increase its number of students who completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

The federal government requires every student to submit the form before receiving any federal financial aid; many other scholarships also require it.

The money, which comes from a $1.6 million grant by the Kresge Foundation, challenges cities in urban areas like Charleston to increase financial aid application rates by 5 percent for high school seniors graduating in 2017.

“We know FAFSA completion is strongly associated with postsecondary enrollment, yet every year millions of students who are eligible for aid never complete the FAFSA,” said Bill Moses, Kresge’s managing director for education, in a news release. “That’s especially true for low-income students who could use the federal assistance the most.”

Higher Education Policy Commission spokeswoman Jessica Kennedy said NCAN identified a list of cities that would be eligible for the grant money. From there, any organization within the city was allowed to apply for funding with an idea as to how it might help more students complete their financial aid application.

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