He’s looking at a criminal justice degree at the local university, and financial aid would be a lot of help, he said. It would assist his parents so they don’t have to pay for all the costs of college, especially with rising prices.
It would help a lot, his mom, Veronica, added.
Steve is close to finishing his application for financial aid, which would allow him to get federal loans, grants or scholarships. And he’s happy he got help with the forms Saturday morning.
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“I don’t think I’d be able to do this at my house,” he said.
While he was one of the few who weren’t able to finish the application Saturday — there were problems with the pin number that he couldn’t get for three days — he plans to have it finished in a few days, on the way to getting money to allow him to continue his education.
Steve was among the more than 500 parents and students who headed out to Imperial Valley College to learn about options for college and financial aid.
The turnout was more than expected for the first event, said Martha Singh, assistant director for California Student Opportunity and Access Program.
The goal was to get the seniors and their parents to fill out Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA applications, she said. More than 300 applications were filed Saturday.
“The students and parents choose the college,” she said. “We make sure they have the financial needs to make it there.”
The event was open to not only seniors, but seventh- through 12th-graders throughout the Valley.
The Imperial County Partnership for Higher Education provided a parent conference in conjunction with the Cash for College event. The Imperial County group was geared toward providing college-going information to parents with children in seventh to 11th grades. For the seniors, the state group California Student Opportunity and Access Program helped students fill out their financial aid applications. The mission of the state group is to help low-income and first generation college-goers complete the application process so they can access financial aid for education and career/technical training beyond high school.
Seniors were set up in computer labs on campus in order to fill out their financial aid forms with advisers.
The event was worth going to for Calexico High School senior Rocio Farias, who finished her financial aid application Sunday. Financial aid would really help in getting to college, Farias said.
Farias is hoping to head to California State University, Fullerton, for a criminal justice degree. She wants to be a forensic detective, like in CSI, she said.
Parts of the application were confusing, and she got help from a couple of the advisers at the event.
“It’s good, but they need more explanation,” she said.
Laura Rodriguez, a senior at Southwest High School, also got help from advisers at the event, and said it helped out a lot.
Financial aid would help her pay for books and everything else, since she didn’t qualify for some of the other financial aid. Next year she wants to be part of the Imperial Valley University Partnership and get a degree in liberal arts.
Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-337-3441.