Q. I've heard that difficulty understanding and completing financial aid forms is a major factor in people not going to college.
A good way to get some statistical supporting information on your topic would be to look for scholarly and other articles on difficulty with the FAFSA or the FAFSA as a barrier to students.
The way to do this is to go to the library research tool, LibSearch. You access it by going to the library’s home page at http://www.uhd.edu/library, and using the search box in the middle of the page. Try entering the following topics in separate searches and see what you get:
You should see lots of articles that will give support for the idea that the FAFSA is difficult and that it is a hindrance to students applying for college. Indirect evidence may be provided by articles that talk about giving students more assistance with filling it out, then seeing a rise in number of applications.
You can limit the results to articles from scholarly journals, which are more likely to have statistics, by looking at the left-hand column, “Refine your search,” and checking off “Limit to articles from scholarly publications.”
Of course, you can find some information on UHD’s financial aid site at http://www.uhd.edu/financial/. You may also want to contact the director of financial aid here, LaTasha Goudeau as firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, just to provide background, here are a few places that have statistics about financial aid, including one that has the number of FAFSA’s completed at UHD each quarter:
National Center for Education Statistics - Fast Facts http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d10/tables/dt10_350.asp
University of Houston-Downtown Common Data Set http://www.uhd.edu/about/irp/common.html Click on a year. Then click on "Financial Aid."
University of Houston-Downtown College Portrait http://www.collegeportraits.org/TX/UHD Click on "Costs of Attendance and Financial Aid."
FAFSA Application Statistics http://federalstudentaid.ed.gov/datacenter/application.html