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New Year | Same Goal, Fresh Approach | Unlocking Opportunities to Fund Your Dreams

Happy New Year and welcome educators and professionals to our P.U.L.S.E Blog which is a dedicated  space for exploring innovative ways to support and empower students in Detroit. In this blog, we delve  into a fresh approach to unlocking opportunities and securing funds for their educational dreams. Our  commitment is to bridge the gap and create a supportive environment where every student can thrive,  regardless of their background. 

Nationally, higher education institutions have had declining student enrollment over the years. Many  reasons have contributed such as the lack of a college-going culture in school districts and increasing  tuition rates across colleges and universities which potentially mount more student loan debt than one can  bear. So much so that students and families have seemingly had zero interest in completing a Free  Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application and it’s one of the biggest reasons why the  Universal FAFSA, known as Senate Bill NO. 463 in the great State of Michigan, was introduced as a  graduation requirement for high school students and this falls in alignment with Governor Gretchen  Whitmer Sixty by 30 initiative, which is to close the skills gap and boost postsecondary attainment to  60% by 2030. Now, what do I think about making this Senate Bill a mandatory condition for students?  Well, I think it’s a fantastic proposal, and before closing out this page of the blog, please… hear me out… 

The National College Attainment Network (NCAN) recently reported that the class of 2023 graduates left  more than $4 billion in Pell Grant on the table by simply not completing the FAFSA and Michigan is on  the hook for approximately $99 million. (NCAN, 2024) That is so much money that is untouched and  essentially is going to be unused. Keep in mind that these dollars do not include the Michigan  Achievement Scholarship and other funds that students and families are potentially eligible for. Although  over 70% of families who complete the FAFSA go on to enroll in a postsecondary pathway, (most of the  top 50 jobs in the state of Michigan require at least a bachelor’s degree and all require at least a certificate  or license), which will help level out the poverty gap in low-income communities. To me, this screams,  “OPPORTUNITY” for 2-year, 4-year, and workforce education pathways. 

Educators and professionals, although many students and families are unsure if they want to attain a  certification or a college degree because of the cost that it would take to potentially earn a credential or a  college degree, how would we truly know if they can or cannot afford it, if families are not completing  the necessary documentation to determine what they are eligible for in federal, state, and institutional  funds?! Even if students are unsure what their areas of interest are, it would be great for them to know  what their financial options are. Let’s help students and families unlock opportunities to fund their dreams  by encouraging them that planning involves evaluating all possible alternatives, analyzing their  advantages and disadvantages, and ultimately selecting the most suitable option. On the contrary, failing to plan may result in lost opportunities and adverse outcomes. It is crucial to take decisive action and  make well-informed judgments to attain success. 

Lastly, continue igniting the spirit of learning in Detroit’s youth – where every classroom is a gateway to  a bright future. 

Peace and Blessings! 

Dr. Ashley Terry

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