According to CNBC, 54% of teenagers are concerned about the financial costs of higher education and 70% say the cost affects their college and major choice. College and high school counselors know the stress that can build up due to lack of financial ability to pay for higher education all too well. Many students may have trouble reaching out or feel that they have to already be close to their high school advisors in order to ask for help when it comes to something personal like finances or even mental health. Forbes Magazine states that students are more likely to be more educated on their college finances if they speak to their counselors frequently. In addition, this increases their chances of getting financial aid. Financial wellness becomes harder to come by when many students are not financially literate. Student counselors should note that financial wellness is a critical part of student success for future students.
Counselors and Financial Literacy
By the third year of high school, students start to realize that there is more to work on besides academics and extracurriculars. SAT/ACT prep creates more stress by adding to their average course load on top of having to be concerned with AP/IB classes, extracurriculars, and a social life. In addition to that, students must also focus on researching and visiting colleges and what they’re going to major in. Counselors can help students navigate websites like the CommonApp and CollegeBoard so that transitioning to college is much smoother. But, that still leaves a big gap on the financial end. While the number of students employed from the age of 16-24 has recently increased, many are only part-time employees and are unsure of how to embark on the large financial journey that is college. School counselors should make students aware of the application costs and also advise them on sending SAT or ACT scores over to colleges. Rushing SAT or ACT scores allows students to send their scores earlier to colleges, but it does come at a higher price. Lastly, counselors should be educated on subsidized and unsubsidized loans, grants such as the PELL grant, and scholarship options to relay the message to students.
FAFSA, Grants, and Scholarships
Every student and counselor must know that FAFSA is essential for college financial aid. One of the key duties of a school counselor is to help as many students as possible complete their FAFSA. One way to do this is by meeting with high school juniors and seniors at designated time slots around the beginning of the new school year. This may give students and parents more opportunities to research FAFSA and possibly receive more financial aid by applying early. Parent and teacher conferences can also be useful to spread information about FAFSA and other scholarship websites so that parents can be active in the beginning phases of their children’s financial situations. Getting parents involved can sometimes be a more effective way to drill in the importance of finances for students and also may be a better tool to motivate students to fill out their FAFSA. If children are close to their parents, they can feel less alone in taking up something so daunting. Lastly, you can encourage students to get signed up for FAFSA through prizes and visuals. Holding a competition between student homerooms of who can apply first is one idea of how to implement this.
Counselors and Mental Health
Financial literacy and financial wellness go hand in hand. A whopping 41% of students say they don’t receive any form of financial literacy courses in high school, according to CNBC. This can contribute to a lot of uncertainty for students pursuing higher education. A couple of ways counselors can step in and mitigate the situation is by talking to the administration about holding sessions to teach students about the basics of credit, loans, and how to budget. Basics on investing and planning for retirement can also give students an idea of what life during and after college will consist of. This may give students a sense of security going forward and gives them an idea of what to research after they have the topic introduced to them. This can also be one way of prioritizing student mental health to help students feel safety in being more informed. Additionally, counselors can encourage students to ask questions by keeping their doors open and being present at school events and assemblies. Being a familiar face and being inviting can make a counselor more approachable.
Neolth and Mental Health
Financial wellness can be contingent on how schools approach it. Neolth can be a useful tool to help students feel their best so that they can continue to blossom.
Neolth can provide mental health services to students who are struggling. Neolth provides relaxation practices and routines to help students ground themselves and can be an excellent way to reduce stress and anxiety. Neolth can also be a tool for educators and counselors alike who can use the platform in the classroom and in counseling sessions. You can make a difference to students in need by sharing the platform with them and also sharing it with parents so that they can be active in helping their children in their mental health journey.
Francis-Devine, B. (2023, February 14). Youth unemployment statistics - house of commons library. Retrieved February 17, 2023, from https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn05871/
Nietzel, M. T. (2023, February 1). Students Who Meet With High School Counselor Much More Likely To Receive Financial Aid For College. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeltnietzel/2023/02/01/students-who-meet-with-high-school-counselor-much-more-likely-to-receive-financial-aid-for-college/?sh=237749868955
Reinicke, C. (2022, June 1). 54% of teenagers feel unprepared to finance their futures, survey shows. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2022/06/01/54percent-of-teens-feel-unprepared-to-finance-their-futures-survey-shows.html