Waynesboro High School helping students navigate post-secondary options

piggy bank
(© Andrey Popov – stock.adobe.com)

Waynesboro High School is doing its part to help students apply for millions in federal college aid.

Gov. Ralph Northam recently announced a $24.7 million federal GEAR UP grant to increase access to higher education and jobs training for Virginia students. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a form used to apply for financial aid for postsecondary education. Northam convened a FAFSA workgroup in March to develop strategies on how to increase FAFSA participation.

The governor’s long-term goal is to have every eligible student in Virginia completing a FAFSA application each year.

Matt Bailey, director of counseling at Waynesboro High School, was part of this work group.

“The purpose of the workgroup was to recognize the importance of filling out the FAFSA for post-secondary school or training programs. We worked to identify and break down barriers to make the application process easier for students and families,” said Bailey.

According to a 2018 study, approximately 15,000 Virginia high school seniors that would have been eligible for Pell Grants did not complete the FAFSA. This resulted in millions of dollars in unused aid that could have made a difference in whether a student continues their education after high school.

Waynesboro High School is doing its best to make sure all of their students have an opportunity to access the FAFSA and post-secondary opportunities. In addition to school counselors, WHS students and families have access to other postsecondary planning specialists. Susan Arritt is the Greater Aspiration Scholarship Program advisor at Waynesboro High School and is available to help students with financial aid and scholarships.

Kim Wood, the career coach at WHS specializes in career/college exploration, interview skills and expanding one’s soft skills.

Sadie Rosenfield provides college advising for students with the mission to increase the number of low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented high school students who enter and complete higher education.

Waynesboro High School will be hosting a Financial Aid Information Night Monday, Oct. 18, 6-8 p.m., in the WHS Media Center. Students who attend will be entered into a drawing for a mini-refrigerator and a Keurig.

Contact the Waynesboro High School Counseling Office for more information whscounselingoffice.weebly.com.

For more information about GRASP visit: grasp4va.org.

For more information about Virginia College Advising Corps visit: vcac.virginia.edu.

For more information about BRCC High School Career Coach visit: www.brcc.edu/services/career/career-coaches.

augusta free press news