A Study on the article “Low Income Urban High School Students’ Use of the Internet to Access Financial Aid” Class Barriers – Graphical Reports By: Emily Hennes, WS 445
Low income students do not have supportive environments in regard to finding financial aid services/tools on the web On line financial aid services speed up application process---give students more time than “traditional” method of application-however, access to online services is limited for low-income students Socioeconomic status determines (whether or not) many students get access to online financial aid tools Culture plays a role in gaining or not gaining financial aid information Poor access to web is causing real problems Federal financial aid sites are easier to navigate than individual institution sites are Students become confused as a result of misinformation and poor advising
Gee, it’s great to have a computer and web access at home! I wonder what I would do without it…?
Advantages of internet application Decrease in application mistakes Expedites the review of application Save on postage/ materials and processing costs (government and postsecondary institutions) money can in turn increase financial aid savings Gives students more time to make decisions on post- high school education
Socioeconomic status Low-income students rely on internet/computer access at school-however, many computers at low-income schools do not function (staff is not educated on how to use them, etc.) Many low income students do not have computers and or internet access at home
The web is an important tool in gaining efficient financial aid info. !
Culture as a factor Students growing up in a schooling environment that does not emphasize college education have limitations-less likely college bound If the advisor promotes paper based FAFSAs, the students will be less likely to fill them out online Studies often miss the unique needs/challenges low-income students are exposed to
Poor access the internet is causing real problems One student claimed that the computers at school freeze up, so she has to check certain sites at home-this can be a real problem if the student doesn’t have a computer/access to the web at home! This makes it hard for students to get assignments in on a timely manner/meet deadlines.
. ! Ugh… I can’t believe I have to go home to look this up! Crappy connection! %%#&#&!
Federal financial aid sites are easier to navigate than individual institution ones are Four year college financial aid sites are more easily navigated than two year ones are A lot of the time, community college financial aid has to be filled out at the school and not online-if the student doesn’t have a car or cannot afford to travel to the school to fill out an application, he/she might forego the task This shows an apparent, classist problem in regards to accessing financial aid tools and utilizing them on the web.
…Low income students become confused Students do not get adequate training on how to fill out online financial aid forms Many students take months and multiple visits to the financial aid site in order to finally complete the application Students go to peers, peer counselors, and college counselors who are often misinformed
…Low income students become confused cont. The steps aren’t easy to follow, and if a student doesn’t have a good advisor, and a schooling culture that enhances his/her knowledge on how to apply for financial aid, he/she is at a disadvantage.
Conclusion Students must have access to good advisors, and an environment conducive to gaining knowledge about what to do beyond the application process Staff at low income schools must go through training and learn the tools and methods for an effective application process and knowledge of the steps beyond the application process