February 16, 2006
Mike Stepanovich, 661/654-2456, email@example.com,
or Jaclyn Loveless, 661/654-2138, firstname.lastname@example.org
The first of five “Cash for College” workshops scheduled in Kern County during February and March is scheduled Saturday in Bakersfield to help students and parents 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.
The Kern County workshops are as follows:
- Saturday, Feb. 18, 10 a.m.-noon, Police Activities League, 301 E.
Fourth St., Bakersfield.
- Sunday, Feb. 19, noon-2 p.m., McFarland High School, 259 Sherwood Ave., McFarland.
- Feb. 25, 10 a.m.-noon, Boys and Girls Club, 801 Niles St., Bakersfield.
- Feb. 26, 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.
Frank Ramirez, financial aid counselor at California State University, Bakersfield, said the workshops are extremely important for those seeking financial aid to pay for college. “Two thirds of the eligible students are not getting financial aid simply because they’re not completing the forms,” he said. “All they have to do is fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). All students interested in financial aid for college will need to complete this form. Students can’t appreciate the value of the workshop if they haven’t filled a FAFSA out themselves.”
Last year more than $3 million in Pell and Cal grants that was available to Kern County students was not awarded simply because people didn’t apply, he said. “The money is there; you don’t know what you qualify for until you fill out the appropriate forms.”
“No student should miss out on attending a college or university due to lack of finances,” CSUB President Horace Mitchell said. “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.”
“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, last year only 28 percent of the students in the Central Valley who qualified for Cal Grants submitted an application.
Students and parents should bring, if possible, their 2005 federal income tax return forms, W-2 or other relevant 2005 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. “If income information is not available, students and parents can make estimates, so they should come anyway,” Ramirez said. “We’ll work with them.”
Students who attend these workshops and complete an evaluation form will be entered in a drawing for a $1,000 scholarship per workshop.
Scholarships are being provided by the Education Financing Foundation of California. The foundation has offered to provide 275 scholarships to be awarded throughout California.
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.