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Fears of dropping enrollments prompting Ohio to spend millions on college prep

FILE- Undated school bus. (WSYX)
FILE- Undated school bus. (WSYX)
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The country is seeing a drastic drop in students applying for financial aid for college and Ohio leaders worry that could be an indication of college enrollment numbers for next year. In response, the state is funding the nearly $3,000,000 FAFSA Initiative 21 as Ohio is seeing a 9% decrease in free applications for federal financial aid completions over this time last year.

“We have learned there are high school students have stopped showing up for high school and stopped attending class,” the Chancellor of the Ohio Department of High Education Randy Gardner told ABC 6/FOX 28.

Through February, the rural Gallia County School District shows one of the biggest drops of FAFSA completion rates by 45%. For Ohio’s large urban districts, Cleveland Metro dropped by 46%, Cincinnati by 20%, and Columbus by 32%

Within CCS, numbers for Marion Franklin, Mifflin, and Beechcroft High Schools are down by more than 50%.

Gardner said students who complete their FAFSA are 84% more likely to enroll in college.

“The state budget would be benefited by $500,000,000 if we had 5% attainment gain in the state,” he said. “There would be $10,000,000’s on the table. That’s financial aid money that would not be provided to students if they don’t complete the FAFSA”

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So, the Ohio Departments of Education and Higher Education acquired $2.8 million from Gov. Mike DeWine’s emergency education fund to help with FAFSA completions for next year. Nearly $2,000,000 will go to groups that counsel students on college prep.

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