fafsa Archives | UnidosNow

Sarasota County, Highest FAFSA Completion Rate

As of February 3rd, Sarasota became the county with the highest FAFSA application completion rate in the state of Florida: 1,204 out of 3,029 12th graders. This accomplishment in the Florida FAFSA Challenge has been achievable thanks to LCAN* and the FAFSA labs that have been hosted throughout the county.

Another reason to celebrate is the fact that Pine View School (Osprey) holds third place for the highest FAFSA completion rate among all high schools in the state (210 12th graders out of 283). In addition, Riverview High School is ranking first in the “Biggest Boost” category, which means that it has obtained the largest week-to-week change in percentage of students completing FAFSA.

 

In general, both Sarasota and Manatee counties are seeing the numbers increase. All throughout April, LCAN will be hosting FAFSA labs to continue helping students and families get the resources they need to #DreamBig and #ReachHigh.

*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.

Complete your #FAFSA with us!

Complete your #FAFSA to go to #college or #TechnicalSchool with us! Next Saturday, February 11th, from 1:30pm to 4:30pm at North Sarasota Public Library. #DreamBig #ReachHigh

¡Completa tu FAFSA para ir a la #universidad o a la #EscuelaTécnica con nosotros! El próximo sábado, 11 de febrero, de 1:30pm a 4:30pm en la biblioteca pública en Newton. #SueñaALoGrande #LlegaAlto

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.

UnidosNow Manatee High School Club Creates Awareness about Financial Aid

Officers of the UnidosNow Club at Manatee High School gave their first presentation about Financial Aid and FAFSA to their peers. The school Club has prepared a curriculum to deliver during the school year, including topics such as the steps to follow to select college, how to pay for college and how to succeed in college. Meetings are twice per month at Mrs. Williams classroom 8-130. Join the UnidosNow Club!

FAFSA Lab at Braden River

On Thursday, January 26th, students of the UnidosNow Club, financial aid officers from the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee, State College of Florida and Keiser University, and other volunteers were helping families to fill out their FAFSA at Braden River High School. The organization and welcoming of Braden River staff was excellent, and through this FAFSA workshop we guided students to get financial aid to go to college.

Manatee Community Foundation​ and United Way of Manatee County​ support the initiatives in Manatee County through the Manatee Matches Giving Circle.

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.

“Myths & Facts” Presentation at Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee County

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In November, UnidosNow’s Executive Director Luz Corcuera spoke to the Healthy Teens Coalition membership about the myths and facts associated with applying to college for low income, first generation high school students.

Some of the myths, which UnidosNow programming directly addresses, include the notion that college is too expensive to consider; it’s unattainable; the student doesn’t have “what it takes;” and/or studying out of state is too costly.

The truth is that these students underestimate their own potential, so that, without the appropriate support to help them realize that potential, they often drop out of college. However, statistics show that a significantly higher percentage of these students graduate when they attend smaller, more selective colleges than most large public universities in Florida.

Merit-based scholarships are often more substantial at such institutions. In order to access these opportunities, students need to take the first step, which is completing the FAFSA. This will determine if Pell Grant money is available to them and will allow them to apply for private scholarships, which require FAFSA completion.

FAFSA Prep Workshops: Start Building your Future

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If you’re a senior planning to attend a post-secondary school, it’s important for you and your parents to complete a FAFSA form, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Federal student aid includes Federal Pell Grants, federal student loans, and work-study opportunities. In addition to determining eligibility for federal student aid, many states, private organizations, colleges, and career schools rely on information from the FAFSA to determine eligibility for non federal sources of aid.

There are two major changes to the FAFSA taking effect for the 2017–18 school year, which runs from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018:

  1. The FAFSA will be available earlier (October 1 of the previous year instead of January 1 of the upcoming school year).
  2. The FAFSA will collect income information from an earlier tax year.

To help students and parents prepare the form, UnidosNow is partnering with Talent4Tomorrow and the Manatee Education Collaborative to offer workshops at high schools in both Sarasota and Manatee counties, respectively, from October through February. Click here to see the calendar of dates and locations, and check the posters above.

FAFSA Prep Workshops: Calling High School Seniors and Volunteers

fafsa_workshops_october_novIf you’re a senior planning to attend a post-secondary school, it’s important for you and your parents to complete a FAFSA form, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Federal student aid includes Federal Pell Grants, federal student loans, and work-study opportunities. In addition to determining eligibility for federal student aid, many states, private organizations, colleges, and career schools rely on information from the FAFSA to determine eligibility for non federal sources of aid.

There are two major changes to the FAFSA taking effect for the 2017–18 school year, which runs from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018:

  1. The FAFSA will be available earlier (October 1 of the previous year instead of January 1 of the upcoming school year).
  2. The FAFSA will collect income information from an earlier tax year.

To help students and parents prepare the form, UnidosNow is partnering with Talent4Tomorrow and the Manatee Education Collaborative to offer workshops at high schools in both Sarasota and Manatee counties, respectively, from October through February. Click here to see the calendar of dates and locations.

 

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We are also recruiting bilingual volunteers to provide one-on-one assistance to students and parents at these workshops. If you are interested in volunteering for one or more of the sessions, please RSVP to Lisbeth Oscuvilca, Lisbeth@UnidosNow.org, for one of the following trainings:

  • October 13th from 5:30-8:30 PM at Suncoast United Way, 1800 2nd St, Sarasota
  • October 28th from 5:00-7:00 PM at USF Sarasota-Manatee, 8350 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

Fill Out FAFSA Party at Palmetto High

Our Palmetto High School “Fill Out FAFSA” party was a great success with over 90 people attending, and 42 families. Our sponsor, State Farm, also put in an appearance and gave some families gift cards. Thanks go out to our extraordinary volunteers, and the great team of counselors at the school! What a successful event!

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