Clearing a Path to College Through the Fafsa Wilderness

Clearing a Path to College
Through the Fafsa Wilderness 3

Mike Bradley for The Chronicle

Kristian Contreras, 
a graduate student 
in education at the U. at Buffalo, guides local high-school seniors through their college 
financial-aid 
applications.

Many low-income families find federal student-aid documents complicated and intimidating, and never make it through the first step on the path to college. But what if they got free help in filling out the forms, wondered Nathan J. Daun-Barnett, at the University at Buffalo. Would that make a difference?

It appears so. In many large urban school districts, only a little more than a third of graduating seniors successfully complete the Free Application for