fafsa workshops Archives | UnidosNow

FAFSA Completion Numbers Increasing

 

Thanks to our invaluable partners, our Local College Access Networks* (LCANs) in Sarasota and Manatee, the number of seniors who complete FAFSA is increasing due to the workshops and labs offered at the high schools of both counties.

LCAN partners in Sarasota comprise: United Way SuncoastGreater Sarasota Chamber of CommerceGulf Coast Community FoundationCareerEdge, and the Sarasota Education Foundation. LCAN partners in Manatee comprise: Manatee Community FoundationUnited Way of ManateeThe School District of Manateethe Manatee Chamber of CommerceUSF Sarasota-ManateeManatee Technical CollegeTake Stock in Children of Manatee County, and CareerEdge.

Ongoing FAFSA Outreach & Support Efforts

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The UnidosNow education team and partners have been crisscrossing Manatee and Sarasota counties in the last month, working to ensure high school seniors have the critical information needed to complete their FAFSA. We conducted numerous outreach activities to inform students and families about FAFSA labs, where volunteers help families fill out their FAFSA forms. Our outreach efforts included, for example, classes or lunch hours where seniors were in attendance at Palmetto and Bayshore high schools, a college fair at Palmetto High, an information session at Sacred Heart Church, the Hispanic Festival at Holy Cross Church, an info table at the Remote Area Medical event at MTC, and electronic outreach via our Remind system, which sends text notifications to students who are registered with us. UnidosNow engaged over 1,000 seniors through this outreach. Find pictures of all these events in our Facebook page.

Subsequently, in partnership with our community partners, FAFSA labs were offered at Sarasota Military Academy, North Port, Sarasota, Booker, Palmetto, Lakewood Ranch and Bayshore high schools, where trained volunteers assisted approximately 254 families to complete the FAFSA. Our invaluable partners include Talent for Tomorrow in Sarasota County – comprised of United Way SuncoastSarasota Education FoundationGreater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Gulf Coast Community Foundation and CareerEdge. – and the Local College Access Network (LCAN) in Manatee County – comprised ofthe Manatee Community FoundationUnited Way of ManateeThe School District of Manateethe Manatee Chamber of Commerce, USF Sarasota-Manatee, Manatee Technical College, Take Stock in Children of Manatee County, and CareerEdge. UnidosNow is a member of both collaboratives.

We believe these partnership efforts are significantly impacting FAFSA completion rates in our area, as evidenced in the below data charts from the US Department of Education for Manatee and Sarasota counties:

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For information on upcoming FAFSA labs or information sessions, click here.

FAFSA Preparation Activities Underway

In 2015, more than $2.7 billion in financial aid for college went unclaimed.  Data show that 85% of students who complete the FASFA receive student aid. This is why UnidosNow and community partners in Sarasota and Manatee counties have been busy with launching this year’s FAFSA support for high school students and their families.

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UnidosNow Team at Holy Cross.

The UnidosNow education program team held outreach and information events at Holy Cross and Sacred Heart churches in Manatee County to promote the upcoming workshops in November, and into the New Year, where free, one-on-one assistance will be provided to families to complete the FAFSA form.

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Juan Arcila at a FAFSA workshop at Palmetto High School.

Last month, our collaborators from USF Sarasota-Manatee, Katie Fleck and Juan Arcila, gave a financial aid presentation, including FAFSA tips, at Palmetto High, where we will hold a FAFSA workshop on November 8th from 4:30 to 7:00 pm.

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Sarasota High School FAFSA Workshop.

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FAFSA Volunteer Training Workshop at United Way Suncoast.

The team also held a workshop at Sarasota High last month, where more than 100 attendees were able to complete their FAFSA forms. Our Sarasota partners, including the United Way Suncoast and The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, as well as financial aid officers from USF Sarasota-Manatee, State College of Florida, and the Ringling College of Art and Design were on site, assisting families with the process. Additional FAFSA sessions at other schools in Sarasota County will be offered this month.

Students and parents attending the FAFSA workshops will need to take the following information with them to be able to complete the form:

  • Social Security Number
  • Driver’s License number (if applicable)
  • Parent & Student 2015 Federal Income Tax Return
  • Alien Registration or Permanent Resident Card (if applicable)
  • 2015 untaxed income records

We wouldn’t be able to offer this valuable service for students who want to pursue post-secondary education without the dedicated volunteers who assist families through the FAFSA process. We held two trainings in October to prepare this special group of committed individuals for their task and we are very grateful for their critical contribution to this effort. Our thanks also go to USF Sarasota-Manatee and United Way Suncoast for hosting the trainings.

For more information and resources on FAFSA, click here.

All these workshops and training would not be possible without the remarkable collaborative work with our partners:

Thank you!

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