Expert: Amid the pandemic, here’s how new high school graduates can nail down financial aid


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Many high school seniors are struggling to overcome the pandemic’s impact in their final year.

Many not have finalized plans for life after high school.

And if you’ve got your sights set on college, and you need financial help, it may not be too late to get it.

Some local seniors are working on figuring out financial aid for their future education plans.

Devyn Rascoe graduated early in December from Heritage High School in Newport News and is now attending Thomas Nelson Community College to earn extra credits. Rascoe will move on to attend Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.

Meanwhile, Heritage High School senior Kyiyana Young hopes to go to college to major in kinesiology and become a sports medicine doctor. Another senior, Addison Parker Davis, plans to attend the United States Naval Academy after graduation.

One Virginia Beach-based woman known as the “Career Engineer” advises students and their parents about college and how to pay for it.

For families struggling to find the money to pay for college, Harrison said they should reach out to their intended schools’ financial aid officers.

“I’m still applying for grants and scholarships. It’s kinda hard because it’s so much competition with all the other kids,” said Kyiyana.

But don’t stop there, Harrison said.

“The degree program that you’re going for, check in with the deans of those colleges. A lot of times there’s programs, there’s STEM incentives, for example,” she said. “Each of the deans and departments that you’re going for might have money from endowments… Also, the foundations of those colleges as well as — again — your financial aid. “

And what about student loans?

“It’s really hard being in debt after college,” Rascoe said.

Harrison said if you’re willing to hustle, you may not need them.

Rascoe is making a smart move by taking college classes on the side, Harrison said.

“In fact, with some of the COVID funding that came down the pipe for retraining, there’s been some funds that the community college system has been able to use to help folks retrain. and this can be used for new students coming in, as well as other students who’ve been impacted by COVID,” said Francina Harrison said.

“Our motto is ‘Don’t get anxious, get prepared,'” Harrison said.

You can reach Francina Harrison, the “Career Engineer” by going to her LinkedIn profile.

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