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Cash for College
 
February 14, 2005
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456 or mstepanovich@csub.edu
Laura Catherman, University of California, Merced, (661) 861-7954
Don Clark, Bakersfield College, (661) 395-4256
Cheri Cruz, Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, (559) 292-0104

BAKERSFIELD – Education and community leaders from throughout Kern County and the southern San Joaquin Valley today urged students and parents to take advantage of upcoming “Cash for College” workshops to help students apply for financial aid.

“California Cash for College” is a statewide effort sponsored by the California Student Aid Commission and promoted by the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium and colleges and universities in the San Joaquin Valley to encourage students to take advantage of the money that is available to help them finance their college education.

As part of the campaign, the California Student Aid Commission partners with regional organizations to offer workshops aimed at helping students successfully complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Grade Point Average Verification Form, which are necessary to apply for Cal Grants and other types of financial aid. The deadline to submit FAFSA and Cal Grant GPA Verification forms is March 2.

Several workshops, all bilingual, are scheduled throughout the San Joaquin Valley during February. Among them:

  • Feb. 19, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Police Activities League, 301 E. Fourth St., Bakersfield.
  • Feb. 20, noon-2 p.m., Wasco High School, 1900 Seventh St., Wasco.
  • Feb. 26, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Boys and Girls Club, 801 Niles St., Bakersfield.
  • Feb. 27, noon-2 p.m., Arvin High School, 900 Varsity Road, Arvin.
  • March 1, 6-8 p.m., UC Merced Bakersfield Center, University Square, second floor, 2000 K St., Bakersfield.

“No student should miss out on attending a college or university due to lack of finances,” said Horace Mitchell, president of California State University, Bakersfield. “I encourage high school students and their parents to attend these important workshops. The financial aid is available to make their educational dreams come true. It is critical for the future economic well-being of our region that we create a college-going culture.”

“Financial aid can be the only key that opens the door to higher education for deserving students, so efforts to help educate parents and students about financial aid resources are essential,” said UC Merced Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Jane Lawrence. “More than 60 percent of all undergraduate students at University of California campuses receive financial aid. This support provides students with access to higher education, which ultimately helps them achieve their career goals as well.”

“Bakersfield College, Cerro Coso College, Porterville College and BC’s Delano campus are often the first step for thousands of area high school students to achieve a college education,” said Joan Wegner, BC’s financial aid director. “That’s why all of our colleges and universities so strongly support and so actively participate in the Cash for College workshop program.”

“We want students to know that college is possible and affordable,” said Allen Carden, executive director of the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium. “Resources are available to help students pay for their education. They just have to apply for it.”

According to a consortium report, only 28 percent of the students in the Central Valley who qualify for Cal Grants submit an application.

Students and parents should bring their 2004 federal income tax return forms, W-2 or other relevant 2004 income information to one of the workshops. They should also bring their driver’s license or other form of state identification and know their Social Security number.

Students who attend these workshops and complete an evaluation form will be entered in a statewide drawing for 15 $1,000 scholarships. Scholarships are being provided by Hyundai and the James Irvine Foundation. The local Hyundai dealership is providing local support by making FAFSA forms available at their dealership and by contributing to the scholarship awards.

The Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, established in March 2000, is a nonprofit organization aimed at promoting programs, policies and performance designed to increase higher-education attainment in the 10-county San Joaquin Valley area – Kern, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Madera, Merced, Mariposa, Kings, Tulare and Fresno counties.

For more information about Cash for College workshops in Kern County, please call Frank Ramirez in the CSUB Financial Aid office at (661) 664-3248.

Information is also available at the consortium website at www.CollegeNext.org, or by calling toll-free (877) ITS-POSSIBLE (487-7677).

For information about the statewide campaign, please visit www.californiacashforcollege.org.

California Cash for College is supported locally by Assemblywoman Nicole Parra, Bakersfield College, California State University, Bakersfield; the Kern Community College District, Kern County Superintendent of Schools, Kern High School District, Senator Roy Ashburn, Southern San Joaquin Valley California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP), Taft College, University of California, Merced; and University of California, Santa Barbara.

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