I am writing in response to the article titled “Delaware Data Innovation Lab debuts education dashboard to the public,” published in your newspaper on Thursday, March 18. First and foremost, I would like to acknowledge that the debut of this information to the public is an important step in getting the community more invested in the trials that many low-income students in our district face when seeking funds to invest in their future through higher education.

As I know the focus of this article was to inform the community of the data being released to them, I feel as though it missed an opportunity to point out some important issues that contribute to the drop
in FAFSA completions. It is noted that schools with a higher number of black, indigenous, and people of color percentages had a lower percentage of completion rates; however, when the question of why the drop has occurred, the presence of COVID-19 is the only response. I think it is important to recognize the underrepresentation of many people of color within society, as well as the lack of education regarding FAFSA completions in our schools. Our schools need to increase education regarding higher education in a way that is accessible to all students; especially those who are underrepresented and in turn do not think college is in their future.

Riley Dunn