Throughout November, 116 Utah high schools are partnering with the Utah System of Higher Education to launch Utah College Application Week (UCAW) events. Utah College Application Week gives every high school senior in partner schools the opportunity to complete a college application during the school day, with help from their school counselors, teachers and/or volunteers. UCAW schools specifically focus on first-generation and low-income students, who are less likely to apply to and enroll in college.
Why is UCAW needed?
Research shows more than 90% of Utah’s students plan to attend college, yet when the time comes to attend, only two-thirds actually go. Many students can feel overwhelmed or confused when completing applications. This can be especially true for those who are first generation or from underserved communities who may not have access to the “college knowledge” crucial to the college application process. Utah College Application Week events give high school seniors the extra help they need to complete their applications.
“A college education is crucial in today’s economy and makes a huge impact on students’ future earnings and opportunities in life. But many students feel overwhelmed by the application process, so it’s important to have initiatives like Utah College Application Week in high schools that help students complete their college applications,” said Dave Buhler, Commissioner of Higher Education. “These events create an environment where students can get their college questions answered and feel supported in their steps toward a college education.”
FAFSA Completion Open Houses
Many high schools are holding FAFSA Completion Open Houses in tandem with college application events. While FAFSA completion in the state is increasing, Utah continues to have the lowest FAFSA completion rates in the nation. StepUp to Higher Education’s outreach team works with high schools across Utah to host FAFSA completion events in the fall, which help to reinforce that FAFSA completion is a part of the college application process.
A full calendar of events is available on StepUpUtah.com.
Last year, more than 21,000 students submitted 38,080 college applications as part of UCAW. 95% of participating students reported feeling more comfortable with the college application process, 93% were more likely to ask for help with applications and 92% were more interested in going to college after high school graduation.
UCAW is part of ACE’s American College Application Campaign
UCAW is held in conjunction with the American Council on Education’s American College Application Campaign, in order to make more students and parents aware of the importance of applying for college and the funding resources available to lower-income families.
Want to learn more?
Students and parents can find UCAW information and college readiness resources at StepUpUtah.com, including a calendar of UCAW and FAFSA events held at Utah high schools, as well as tips to prepare for college, the benefits of a college education, and a list of Utah colleges and universities.