Fresno Bee: Editorial: Despite tuition increases, college isn't just a dream

Feb 6, 2013
In The News

Fresno Unified financial aid workshops begin Friday.

Wednesday, Feb. 06, 2013

Impoverished or middle-class students and their parents should know that college dreams can be realized despite tuition hikes and a sluggish economy.

If a student gets good grades and graduates from high school, financial aid will be there to attend college.

This is the message that Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, is sending to students, particularly those in Fresno Unified School District.

"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," Costa said Wednesday. "Every student should know what resources are available to help them."

On Friday, Costa will kick off the first of six financial aid workshops put on by Fresno Unified. The workshop is 5-8 p.m. at the adult school on the second floor of the Manchester Mall.

Students and families will receive instructions on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid -- and be able to use computers to complete the forms.

In addition, Fresno Unified is participating in a national pilot program to boost college attendance. As part of this effort, counselors track which students have applied for financial aid and offer help to those who haven't done so.

As Costa said, sending more students to college is critical to the Valley's economy. Filling well-paying jobs often requires recruiting candidates from outside our area because local workers don't have the skills. Increasing the number of college-bound Fresno Unified students not only will keep them on the path for personal success but enrich our region.

According to the National Student Clearinghouse, 59.6% of district graduates from the Class of 2011 enrolled in college. The district says that 3,543 students have applied to one or more colleges and universities this year.

Workshops such as the one Friday build upon district efforts to raise its college-going rate. Last year, for example, the Center for Educational Partnerships (CEP) at the University of California, Merced, designated $1.15 million in federal grants for a five-year "Talent Search" partnership with Fresno and Roosevelt high schools.

We advise students to hit the books, learn about financial aid and keep dreaming big.