Dell Scholars: College success beyond financial aid verification

A college degree can serve as a pathway out of poverty for low-income students and their families. The first step along that path is completing FAFSA, which determines eligibility for the Pell Grant and federal financial aid. But after completing the application, half of low-income students will be asked to provide additional information to verify the information submitted, and 25 percent of them will fail to complete the process, a phenomenon known as “verification melt.”

The verification process is more than an administrative burden. These students are looking towards a brighter future – but during a time of major transition in their lives, weeks of chasing down forms, crushing financial stress, and missing out on first-come, first-served institutional aid can be downright discouraging. For a significant number of these students, the process will reverse their plans for higher education altogether.

Students often overcome tremendous adversity to reach this stage. And there’s more we can do to make sure that financial aid verification is just one step along their journey towards a college degree, and not the end of the road. Check out our latest blog post at DellScholars.org, and for our colleagues in college completion, let us know your #verificationtips by tagging us on Twitter @DellScholars.