Impact of Financial Aid on Student College Access & Success:

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1 Impact of Financial Aid on Student College Access & Success: The San Antonio Experience Noé C. Ortiz P a r t n e r s f o r E d u c a t i o n a l E n g a g e m e n t Eyra A. Perez P a r t n e r s f o r E d u c a t i o n a l E n g a g e m e n t

2 Introduction In San Antonio, 32% of adults (25 years+) have associate s degree or higher versus 12% of Latinos. Completion gaps cannot be closed with financial aid alone but it does increase enrollment, persistence, and completion. Latino student success requires collective efforts delivered through widely adopted practices. SA2020 Cafécollege Diplomás 2

3 Financial Aid Journey in San Antonio Student Aid San Antonio Offers free guidance and one-on-one assistance to complete federal and state college financial aid applications. Collaborative effort led by San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and includes local schools, businesses, higher education institutions, and community based organizations. Built on successful financial aid efforts of local school districts and colleges/universities. 3

4 Financial Aid Journey in San Antonio Student Aid San Antonio Goal: 5% annual increase in FAFSA completion rates. Engaged financial aid professionals as a subcommittee with 2 leaders serving as co-chairs. Events hosted on Saturdays at multiple sites between January and May. Volunteers from local businesses and organizations trained on FAFSA. 4

5 Financial Aid Journey in San Antonio Financial Aid Curriculum How Do I Pay for College? Challenge: Content outside expertise and scope of school districts to comply with legislation. Financial aid experts provided technical knowledge. High School Economics Lessons: 5 daily lessons, hands-on activities, videos, homework assignments. Pre- and Post-Test to measure learning. Professional development for teachers, counselors, mentors, advisors. 5

6 Financial Aid Curriculum School districts realize financial aid is essential to college enrollment. Adoption as key strategy in college and career readiness. New model of collaboration emerged: Partners moving beyond pockets of expertise to shared knowledge and resources. Capitalizes on collective strengths for greater impact on students and community. Builds capacity and sustainability. 6

7 Financial Aid Journey in San Antonio Financial Aid Council of San Antonio founded to provide infrastructure for collective work. Collectively provide services, expertise, and advocacy that facilitates college enrollment, persistence, and completion. Serve as forum for communication and collaboration on student financial aid issues and initiatives. Supports best practices leading to systemic change. 7

8 Financial Aid Council of San Antonio Accomplishments Knowledge creation among stakeholders beyond financial aid community. Students provided consistent messages, services, resources, and guidance. Created a mutual sense of trust among multisector partners. Financial aid is everyone s responsibility. 8

9 Financial Aid Council of San Antonio Financial Aid Summit To identify financial aid needs, gaps, strengths, and proven practices. Call to action by sharing local financial aid data to show critical needs. Engaged financial aid professionals, school staff, community based organizations, regional/state partners, college access providers. 9

10 Financial Aid Council of San Antonio Financial Aid Summit Outcome: Strategies to guide efforts for Financial Aid Council. Identify key financial aid indicators and measures. Implement outreach to connect the most unconnected. Align and increase support activities, events, and services. 10 Maximize professional development, knowledge creation, and resources for all stakeholders. Engage cross-sector, multi-level partners to reach solutions and collectively create a seamless financial aid process.

11 Informing the National Discussion Partnership Development Evolutionary process based on shared responsibility. Unified effort with shared vision, mission, and goal although dynamic and complex. Key Factor: Leveraging existing relationships and establishing new connections with potential partners positioned to address needs. Key Factor: History of mutually beneficial accomplishments among partners. 11

12 National Discussion: Partnership Development Phase 1: Environmental scan 1 st phase for collaborative educational transformation is the analysis of community s environment. Map Pathways Educational systems students navigate. Identify Resources Disconnected transitions between systems and resources available. Assess Awareness Potential of existing interventions vs reality of progress. 12

13 National Discussion: Partnership Development Phase 2: Identify partners Recognize silos of efforts Take stock of partners and inherent silos. Leverage diverse efforts All types of partners under one collective effort with each maintaining own mission and purpose. Develop a unifying entity To structure, connect, and align the collective efforts of partners. 13

14 National Discussion: Partnership Development Phase 3: Strategic engagement 14 Engage intentionally Plant the vision, understand issues and challenges, identify gaps and needs, and reach collective solutions. Garner commitment with honesty Recognition of state of affairs, clear end goal to solve problems with no blame game. Reflect diverse voices Multi-sector stakeholders to reflect diversity of voices.

15 National Discussion: Partnership Development Phase 4: Manage relationships Reality check Partners required to think/act beyond organizational settings and work circles. Adapt for change Embrace the good outside normal environments to accomplish collective goal. Clarify roles All partners must be given a role to advance common agenda. Open to new alliances Look beyond own borders to reach and service more students. 15

16 Informing the National Discussion The Latino Student and Financial Aid Effectively empower Latino students and families to navigate complex financial aid system. Ensure support systems and interventions exist to provide guidance and resources. 16

17 National Discussion: Latino Student & Financial Aid Issue 1: Understanding context of college affordability Education is important to Latino families. Many simply cannot afford to help pay for college. Parents forced to ask children to find own resources to pay for college. 17

18 National Discussion: Latino Student & Financial Aid Issue 2: Acknowledge competing priorities Latino students highly committed to familial obligations. Cultural expectation to put family s financial wellbeing as primary and college secondary. Teach Latino students and parents that earning potential is greater with college credential. 18

19 National Discussion: Latino Student & Financial Aid Issue 3: Knowledge creation Intentional and holistic in providing opportunities for students to learn how to pay for college. Crucial to teach financial aid process, identify tools, and resources to navigate financial aid system. Guidance, advising, and mentoring are critical. Create knowledge within those that serve Latino students. 19

20 National Discussion: Latino Student & Financial Aid Issue 4: Comprehensive services Latino students face challenges at key transition point between high school and college. Financial aid services must be comprehensive and holistic to ensure enrollment, persistence, and completion. Continuous effort for each step in financial aid process and throughout each year of college enrollment. 20

21 Informing the National Discussion 21 Data to Inform Financial Aid Initiatives Need for a robust data collection system to quantify needs, verify what works, and translate best efforts to best results. More effective initiatives are framed by practitioner experience and validated by data. Complete data collection system is not a prerequisite to take action! Efforts to identify resources for baseline data should be initial step.

22 National Discussion: Data to Inform Element 1: Building data infrastructure Backbone organization with capacity and trust from partners to warehouse and report financial aid data. Partnerships with agencies as sources of aggregated data will be necessary. Element 2: Tracking data that informs Important to analyze more than just FAFSA completion rates. Need to decide what data to collect to best guide and inform efforts and track progress. 22

23 National Discussion: Data to Inform Element 3: Measuring effectiveness Each activity and intervention needs to be analyzed to document proven practices. Need to look beyond outputs toward outcomes. Element 4: Deeper analysis of data 23 Start with top layer to solidify efforts, gain commitment, and build trust. Continually probe into deeper, more difficult challenges and barriers that collective can significantly impact.

24 Student Aid SA Tool 24

25 Student Aid SA Tool 25

26 Student Aid SA Tool 26

27 FA Curriculum Tool 27

28 Financial Aid Summit Tool 28

29 Financial Aid Summit Tool 29

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