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“But first, FAFSA:” A push to help students complete their financial aid application

Posted at 1:25 PM, Oct 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-31 18:56:33-04

Applying for federal financial aid can help provide some of college tuition for those who apply.

Now, there’s a push locally to make sure more students complete their financial aid application.

Arturo Sanchez, a parent of a Ray High School senior, knows first-hand how tedious applying for financial aid can be.

“We had tried to apply for the financial aid at home and ran into some problems,” Sanchez said.

But applying for financial aid just got easier. It’s all thanks to a new partnership between CCISD and Coastal Compass, a local education and career resource center.

“We’re trying to get every single senior to complete that FAFSA,” said Coastal Compass employee Kendra Johnson. “So they know that they do have financial support that they can get.”

With the help of a $40,000 grant from the National College Access Network, there will be more resources for high school students aimed at helping them complete free applications for federal student aid, also known as FAFSA.

“These moneys are available to you and we’re doing anything possible to help them out,” interim Ray High School principal Roxanne Cuevas said.

There are incentives to completing the FAFSA. According to Coastal Compass, 85 percent pf students who apply will receive financial aid. Meanwhile, 90 percent of students who complete their FAFSA go directly to college, compared to 55 percent who do not complete it.

“Even if you think you’re not going directly [to college] right after high school, you’re starting that conversation,” Coastal Compass director Angela Pena said. “You’re talking with your parents about, ‘what am I going to do next?'”

Plus, numerous FAFSA workshops and events have been set up at local high schools. One workshop helped Ray High School senior Serena Cisneros successfully complete her application.

“I think I’m on the right track now with the amount of help I got,” Cisneros said. “You can get a lot of information and it’s very helpful to understand before graduating.”

CCISD is one of 25 schools nationwide to receive the grant.