Monday, March 4, 2024

Informational videos increase awareness of financial aid and education options

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Olympia—Simple, accurate information provided in an engaging way in an educational environment can help improve student understanding and awareness of financial aid and college or training options, according to a new case study from the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC).

WSAC partnered with the North Central Educational Service District (NCESD) to design and develop animated videos about financial aid and postsecondary education opportunities available in Washington State. The videos were shared with students during the regular school day, and students completed surveys to share their feedback. 

The surveys indicated positive results:

Prior to watching the videos, many students could not correctly answer questions about the state’s financial aid programs and postsecondary opportunities; however, there was substantial growth in their knowledge after watching the videos. 87 percent of students surveyed indicated that they learned something relevant for their futures from the videos. 88 percent of students indicated that they learned something new about the Washington College Grant (WA Grant) program.

WA Grant is a flexible option that can be used for many educational pathways beyond high school, including approved apprenticeships, certificate programs, job training or college.

The state of Washington has some of the strongest financial aid programs in the country. And yet, despite the generous funding available, Washington historically ranks near the bottom in rates of financial aid application completion nationally. WSAC believes that people will be more likely to apply for financial aid if they know how generous and flexible the state’s programs are.

“Every year, we see families leaving thousands of dollars on the table because they don't know how to apply, or don't believe they might be eligible for funding, and we wanted to do something to change that outcome” said Dr. Sue Kane, NCESD’s director of STEM initiatives and strategic partnerships.

Kane added, “These videos make it so easy to be a part of the collective effort. Check out the videos and share them through social media. Helping someone pursue their dreams could be just that simple.”

The case study report shows that adopting an evidence-based approach like informational videos to engage students can increase awareness of financial aid and education options, and potentially influence decision-making about college or career training after high school. View the full report on the WSAC website wsac.wa.gov under A New Approach to Increasing Awareness of Postsecondary Opportunities and Financial Aid in Washington: Embedding a Learning Agenda into Outreach Efforts.

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