More Alabama Families Getting College Financial Aid

Birmingham Alabama
Partner Content
Birmingham Alabama
Photo courtesy of the United Way of Central Alabama

The Bold Goals Coalition has reported an important achievement that will drive more people to enroll in college in Central Alabama. This time, it’s because of a collaborative effort to get more parents to apply for student financial aid with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA ) program.  

“Having a post-secondary education is essential to be competitive in today’s workforce. But you’ve got to know how to pay for it,” said Kristina Scott, Executive Director, Alabama Possible whose Blueprint for College Success Program is the driver for the FAFSA increase effort.

According to the National College Access Network, 14.44% more Alabama high school seniors filed their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in 2017 than in 2016. Alabama ranked 9th nationally in the increase of students filing this application.

Birmingham Alabama

Alabama Possible is part of United Way’s Bold Goals Coalition that is known for “moving the needle” in a positive direction in the areas of education, financial stability and health.

Using a Collective Impact Model, Bold Goals uses collaborations that are intentional, and accelerated, that involve every facet of every community. Alabama Possible and Bold Goal’s both credit the increase in FAFSA filings to the many partners who are working together on a focused goal, including Jefferson State Community College, Blue Cross Blue Shield (Caring Foundation), Birmingham Business Alliance, Alabama Community College System, Birmingham City Schools, The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Alabama State Department of Education and The University of Montevallo.

“It’s the power of a coalition,” said Sara Newell, United Way’s Senior VP for Community Impact and lead staff for The Bold Goals Coalition. “This FASFA project is one of those levers that you can pull to really change the trajectory of college readiness and likeliness to enroll.”

Why is applying for financial aid to go to college important?

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 9 out of every 10 students who complete a FAFSA attend college the following fall.

“62% of jobs in Alabama are going to require a post-secondary education or certificate by 2020,” added Scott.

“When we talk about college, it is 2 year, 4 year, technical and academic education. One of the biggest things we hear working with students and families is that they have no idea they can use funds via FAFSA to study automotive technology at Lawson State or go to Jeff State and be a welder. For so many of us college is 4 years at a university.  In today’s robust economy, your job is more likely to be replaced by a robot or outsourced overseas.”

If you want to learn more about Bold Goals’ collaborative coalition model and see measurable goals in other areas as well as a list of partners go to www.boldgoals.org.

From our Partner

Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.