US should help graduating seniors hurt by pandemic

Jonathan Salazar, Staff Writer

This year we have seen an alarming decrease in the number of students who have completed the Federal Application for Financial Aid. When you compare the number of students who completed the FAFSA in 2020, there were 366 students who had submitted their applications by Feb. 28. This year, the number of completed applications was down to 287 by the same date this year, showing 79 fewer people applied.

As a senior, this is very concerning to me as I see fewer of my classmates going through the steps necessary to help them pay for their college educations. Most of them do not really want to apply for college at this point because there is no motivation to continue online school, and they are not wanting to continue doing that at college. A few of my other fellow classmates will go to college although did not have the time or motivation to fill the FAFSA because online school has been overwhelming and exhausting, leaving them without the time or energy to apply.

College is a very important part of a young adult’s life that can open up new and exciting opportunities. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, many started believing they would have to give up on their college dreams because of the financial burdens people were experiencing. The pandemic has disrupted school at every level, causing fewer applicants for financial aid and college admission.

This is not a unique problem to Akins. FAFSA submission rates are down nationwide. This is a national problem that needs to be addressed. Most student’s and applicants’ concern is paying full tuition, but getting a virtual class. Not getting full-on experiences in person nor a full-on college experience due to the pandemic.

At this point, many seniors believe that there is no point in attending college or completing FAFSA. It is easy to understand how remote learning over the last year has caused students to lose motivation to pursue a college education. But some potential college applicants do not know that most colleges would not be online any longer. Colleges like A&M, Texas State will expect most students to attend in-person. And that’s a great solution to look forward to towards all seniors who are better and prefer learning from person to person.

Clearly, many of my classmates do not want to waste their money on education and be in debt. They are scared of owning thousands of dollars. Soon after that President, Joe Biden announced a 10K cancellation to provide help for people in debt therefore if anyone were to be in debt this plan can help in this sort of way if it were to come to this situation.

Student federal financial aid can help me and other students like me in so many ways. Helping students earn a college degree helps society at large because when one young adult graduates from college, the added income they will earn can help their extended families.