LOS ANGELES -- A new system implemented by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) for sharing required information with the California Student Aid Commission resulted in 2,000 more college-bound LAUSD students receiving Cal Grants in 2012 than previous years. These funds, a gift from the state, help needy students pay for college in California.
According to Cynthia Lim, Executive Director of the LAUSD Office of Data and Accountability, the District participated in a pilot program aimed at implementing a more efficient method of providing a student’s grade point average for financial aid applications to the state. “We provided the state with a file containing each student’s name, GPA, and school,” she said.
Under the previous system, students were responsible for calculating and providing their GPA to the state. Schools also had to collect Social Security numbers from students to complete the application. According to Stephen Williams, college counselor at Eagle Rock High School, not all of them finished the task.
“Many students either did not have their Social Security number memorized and had to get it from their parents, or could not be bothered to fill out the form,” said Williams. “We missed many students, but now, things are different.”
Lim said that last year the District uploaded information for all 30,000 graduating seniors, which also reduced the burden on counselors, who were required to track the paperwork filled out by students.
“Campus counselors now have more time to spend on things other than collect Social Security numbers, such as counsel students,” said Bryan Dickason, manager, Program Administration and Services Division for the California Student Aid Commission.