Henrietta M. King High School in Kingsville is trying to make sure more of its graduating seniors can get cash for college.
The high school was recently awarded a grant aimed at helping more students complete financial aid forms.
Principal John Jenkins estimates that about 30-percent of its graduating seniors actually applied for financial aid last year. Now, with this grant, the school has set a goal of getting 80-percent or more of its students to apply for financial aid this year.
H.M. King High School won a $7,500 Educash grant from a nonprofit organization in Michigan. Officials said it is one of only six high schools in Texas to receive such a grant from the nonprofit. As as result of being chosen, the school will have a group of specialists that will coach the school on how best to market financial aid to parents, students and the community.
The free application for federal student aid puts college and career training within reach for low- and moderate-income students, but each year thousands of eligible students miss out on that aid because they simply do not apply.
"It's how are you going to pay for life after high school, and for many of these young people, they don't have a clue," Jenkins said. "They're not, you know. They don't know, how am I going to pay? Everything to this point pretty much has just been provided. Not all of a sudden, I'm on my own, how do I make it?"
Jenkins said financial aid plays a key role in launching graduating seniors off to college, and that having students not even apply really limits what can do in their lives.
In addition to the grant money to help the school market the financial aid application process to students and parents, the school will also be giving out five separate $500 scholarships, and even 10 iPad Minis, and some Amazon gift cards, all as incentives to get as many students as possible to participate in the financial aid application process.