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College Countdown MS Resources

College Countdown MS Site Coordinator Manual

This is your one-stop site for everything you need to support your students through the college-going process. You can learn about the college application process and what student aid options are available, celebrate college decisions, and ensure students know the critical enrollment steps once they have decided where to go – all in one place!

Steps2College is in partnership with the ACAC, ACE, ACT Center for Equity, American University, Better Make Room and the National College Access Network. 

CollegeCountdownMS 2017 Training PowerPoint
Guide to a Successful FAFSA Day
Fireside Chat with DSU President LaForge on Encouraging Students to Attend College
College Scorecard Find the college that’s the best fit for you! The U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard has the most reliable data on college costs, programs, degrees, graduation, and more!

Southern Association for Student Admission Counselors (SACAC) Resources:
Extending the Dream Grants
Webinars and Presentations
Knowledge Center Source

National Association of College Admission Counselors
Knowledge Center Source

American Council on Education Resources:
Pre-College and Career Readiness for Students and Families 

College Countdown MS 2016 Research Info

A Stronger Nation Through Higher Education
In Mississippi, the ten-year time horizon brings Goal 2025 into sharp focus – a policy brief from Lumina Foundation

The need to increase higher education attainment – the percentage of the population that holds a two-year or four-year college degree or other high-quality postsecondary credential – is well understood in Mississippi. As in other states, the economy of Mississippi is increasingly reliant on skills and knowledge that can only be obtained through postsecondary education. More than ever, the state’s residents need those college-level skills and knowledge to realize their own dreams and aspirations.

The most recent Census data (2013) show that 30.5 percent of the state’s 1.5 million working-age adults (those between the ages of 25 and 64) hold a two- or four-year college degree. The state’s rate of higher education attainment is below the national rate of 40 percent. Clearly, much more needs to be done for the state to meet the national goal of 60 percent.

Can Applying to More Colleges Increase Enrollment Rates?
College Board Advocacy & Policy Center Research Brief Summary notes

  • Low-socioeconomic-status students and low GPA and SAT students apply to relatively few colleges and, at the same time, have low enrollment rates.
  • Increasing the number of college applications from one to two can increase a student’s probability of enrolling at a four-year college by 40 percent, and increasing the number of applications from two to three can increase a student’s probability of enrollment by 10 percent.
  • Policymakers and higher education practitioners can increase college enrollment among traditionally underrepresented students by encouraging students to submit more applications and by developing approaches to assist these students in the application process.

2016 FACT SHEET: The President’s Plan for Early Financial Aid: Improving College Choice and Helping More Americans Pay for College

Summary of changes:
Earlier, Easier Process for Federal Financial Aid: Beginning on October 1, 2016, students can apply for financial aid a few months after they and their parents file their 2015 tax returns with reliable information retrieved electronically from the IRS, rather than waiting until the next year’s tax season to finalize their FAFSAs and to learn about their financial aid. Giving students and families the ability to submit their FAFSAs earlier and to use earlier income data, commonly referred to as “prior-prior” year, will have several important benefits:

  • Earlier information: Students and families will get a reliable understanding of their aid eligibility as early as the fall – the same time many high school students are searching for, applying to, and even selecting colleges.
  • Simpler applications: More students and families will be able to complete their FAFSAs using information retrieved electronically directly from the IRS a few months after they and their parents file their 2015 tax returns, reducing the number of applicants who need to estimate income or taxes paid, only to correct their application later.
  • More students receiving Pell Grants and other aid: Over the next several years, the simpler FAFSA filing process could encourage hundreds of thousands of additional students to apply for and claim the aid they are eligible for – and enroll in college.
  • Reduced burden on colleges: In recent years, colleges and universities have spent as many as 3 million total hours each year verifying FAFSA information, including income and other tax return data. These colleges and universities will be able to avoid much of the burden of verifying tax return information when students apply using data retrieved directly from the IRS.

FAFSA changes impacting 2017-18 college application process

College Signing Day
The Goals of College Signing Day

  • To encourage community leaders, schools, celebrities, and nonprofit and advocacy groups to host a “Reach Higher College Signing Day” to support students planning to attend and graduate from college
  • To celebrate ALL students and their commitment to complete their education beyond high school