The College Funding Project brings financial aid programming to all of Delaware’s pubic high schools, providing presentations, workshops and one-on-one assistance to seniors and their families. Many students are first-generation, low-income or both, and have never thought they could afford to go to college.

One scenario that has played out time and time again all over our state can be boiled down to the story of one girl whom I helped with her FAFSA at one of our largest high schools. She told me that she had been awarded a partial scholarship through Delaware State University’s INSPIRE program, but had to come up with the remaining tuition amount of about $4,000. After we finished her FAFSA, she learned that a Pell grant would award her $4,500. As realization dawned on her, she turned to me and said, “I’m going to college.” I replied that yes, in fact she was going to college tuition free. She repeated, “I’m going to college,” and then added, “No one in my family has ever gone to college. I think I’m going to cry!”