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FAFSA filings are off to a slow start. Can colleges reverse the trend?

December 18, 2020

Lynda McGee, a college counselor at the Downtown Magnets High School in Los Angeles, is trying everything she possibly can to get her students to apply for financial aid.

She has doubled the number of students enlisted as peer college counselors. And she is holding drop-in sessions on Zoom for students to discuss college.

But she feels she can’t fully connect with them — over Zoom, she can’t look them in the eye. Many students have their cameras off. And she’s worried: As of early December, only about half of students had completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, she said, compared to nearly three-quarters in 2018.

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