Costa, Fresno Unified Team Up to Kickoff Paying for College Series

January 6, 2013

Washington, DC – Rep. Jim Costa will join Fresno Unified School District on Friday, February 8th for the kickoff of their financial aid workshop series. These free, public sessions will offer step-by-step assistance to students and families filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and/or the DREAM Act online application. Costa will join Fresno Superintendent Michael Hanson and Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser of Long Beach Unified School District, Fresno Unified’s FAFSA pilot program partner.

“The future of our Valley depends on the success of our students, but sticker shock from the price of a college degree often keeps our best and brightest from meeting their full potential,” said Costa. “Every student should know what resources are available to help them reach graduation. These workshops will give families hands on assistance to complete their applications for federal aid and learn more about other scholarship options.”

“An increasing number of our students are opting to attend college after graduation. This school year alone, a total of 3,543, to date, have applied,”added Superintendent Michael Hanson.  “We are doing all that we can to help make it affordable for them and their families.  The Central Valley region is one of the poorest in the nation, so we know that for many of our students, the price of college could be a determining factor as to whether they will even apply for admission.  We are grateful to Representative Costa for his support of our efforts and we encourage our students to take full advantage of the resources available to them.”

FAFSA is the gateway for students seeking federal financial aid, but too often many well-qualified students fail to successfully complete the application. In 2011, Fresno Unified was selected by the Department of Education as 1 of 20 sites nationwide to be a FAFSA Pilot Completion District. The pilot program aims at increasing the rate of students who successfully complete their financial aid applications. Through the program, high school guidance counselors gain access to tools that allow them to track which students have successfully completed the FAFSA and offer additional resources to those who have not.

Students and their families will be able to file their FAFSA applications online with the assistance of Fresno Unified staff. The workshop will take place from 5-8 on the second floor of the Manchester Mall at 1901 East Shields in Fresno. As a part of this initial workshop, Sallie Mae will hold an informational session about what to expect after completing the FAFSA and responsible borrowing.