Evolving Internet Solutions for Students

By Cindy Ivanac-Lillig

In October, we held a series of webinars to mark the Federal Reserve System Financial Education Day. We had guest presenters from the Illinois Student Assistant Commission (ISAC) and College Greenlight present a joint session on financial aid and scholarships. ISAC is a wonderful resource on the FAFSA process. College Greenlight is a customizable scholarship database, searchable on characteristics such as gender, religion, etc. They are both amazing resources. It is awesome to think that, on College Greenlight’s website, you can extract within seconds a list of customized scholarships available with all the pertinent application details at no charge. Please check out both organizations’ October webinar presentations here for more information.

The internet has enabled students and parents to find the cost of college, the scholarships available, and every possible statistic down to how many pounds, on average, freshmen gain. But something that doesn’t seem relatively available is how likely a particular student is to be able to attend and graduate from any given college. Based on research from the Center for American Progress, the particular college a student chooses impacts his/her probability of graduation as much as previous grades, availability of financial aid, etc. This is the type of complex analysis that is not easily aggregated. Therefore, college choice still seems to be dictated in great part by students’ exposure to particular institutions at home and in school. There must be a way to technologically bridge the gap of aggregating the average net cost of college, the level of students’ satisfaction, the graduation probability, the strength of alumni networks, etc. Coming soon, I hope, to a technology entrepreneur near you…

The internet has enlarged the marketplace, increased competition and ultimately value. Our students are being served well by organizations like ISAC and College Greenlight, but just think what else could be done to increase their chances of not only getting into college but graduating.

Please share any resources that you may have with readers on college choice or financial aid.