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Ohio Wants More Students To Apply For Federal Student Aid

What is the cost of an education?
Cristina Spano for NPR
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Ohio’s education leaders have announced more funding to help young people who want to pursue higher education. The new effort is an attempt to combat the toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on the number of students applying for college aid.

Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is how students, their families and colleges determine eligibility for student financial aid.

The number of FAFSA applicants dropped off significantly during the pandemic.

Randy Gardner is chancellor at the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE). He wants potential college students to know that college is more affordable than many people think.

“There is support, there are scholarships," he says. "There's federal and state need based aid. Fill out the FAFSA and give it a shot because we do know that with with higher education attainment comes higher wages, comes lower unemployment and comes a better health care outcomes."

Gardner adds that those outcomes benefit all Ohioans.

Earlier this year the state granted $966,772 to organizations working to boost the number of students who fill out the FAFSA. Learn to Earn in Dayton and the Montgomery County Educational Service Center are two of the local organizations taking part in the effort.

The program will grant an additional $1.8 million in the coming year.