Student financial aid applications are down among North Carolina high school seniors. Several events will be held this month across the state to make a dent in those numbers.

A little over 45 percent of students in North Carolina have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as of late March, according to the nonprofit myFutureNC.

That's 6.5 percent less compared with the same time last year.

Education leaders say there are many reasons. Students having less contact with their counselors during remote learning, technology barriers like internet access, and kids weighing if it's the right time to go to college.

Cris Charbonneau is with myFutureNC. The group is partnering with colleges to offer drive-in FAFSA events to help families navigate the process.

“Almost 70 percent of our jobs in North Carolina will require a college degree or certificate by 2030," says Charbonneau. "Many families just may not realize how much money is available in federal grants that can alleviate that financial burden for students.”

North Carolina education leaders are aiming for a statewide attainment goal of having 2 million residents get a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2030.

More than a dozen schools across the state including Forsyth Tech and Guilford Technical Community College will host the drive-in events. They will be held on Saturday, April 17, and Saturday, April 24, from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m.

Charbonneau says translators will be available at sites to assist non-English speaking families.

*Follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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