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A 'gobsmacking number' of students in need aren't applying to college. Are we missing 'an entire generation'?

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A few weeks ago, ahead of a nor’easter that unleashed biting winds and snow across New England, Alyssa Washington, a high school senior who wants to be a nurse, made her big college decision: Not to go next fall.

There was no single reason. Rather, mounting obstacles led Washington, a senior at Metropolitan Business Academy, a public school in New Haven, to hit pause. She had not finished the Common App, a shared application form used by more than 900 colleges and universities; had struggled to write her application essay; had lost her password for Naviance, which collects transcripts, recommendation letters and other forms needed to apply; and — like many students in low-income districts this year — had not filled out the FAFSA, the federal financial aid application form. 

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