In February, the New York Urban League Young Professionals in collaboration with Higher Education Service Corporation (HESC) and Bank Street College hosted their second annual Parent Academy FAFSA Workshop. Women’s Academy of Excellence and Food and Finance High School invited NYULYP to host the workshop in their schools. During the workshop, parents and students were given access to financial aid professionals who were there to answer questions and help them complete FAFSA and TAP forms. Over the course of two nights, 20 families received information regarding scholarships and other financial aid tools.
Once Jessica Mates, Community Liaison at Food and Finance, heard about this program at a different event, she insisted that NYULYP bring it to her school. Having recently gone through this process for her child, she understood the frustrations surrounding the application process. Mates had this to say about why it was important for her school to experience this workshop, “Students are trying to get the information and parents are trying to figure out the forms, so this is just a perfect opportunity for them to come and get hands-on help. This is exactly what we need.”
The range of need and preparation among those who attended varied, but the team was well equipped to provide help to everyone in attendance. Some parents had lingering questions after starting their application process at home, while some students arrived with their list of colleges and had their parents virtually attend via their cell phones in order to get the most out of the workshop. When asked about her experience, Adrienne King of Bank Street said, “It is great to once again meet up with NYULYP and assist families with figuring out exactly how to correctly apply [for financial aid] and get rid of any confusion.” Michael Turner of HESC even assisted one student who wanted to start applying for online scholarships. Cheryl Tolavera, a Food and Finance parent told us, “I found this workshop to be very helpful and very informative. I haven’t done this in years, and I found the people here to be very courteous [and they’ve provided] lots of information to help me get my daughter into school.” Women’s Academy of Excellence Parent Coordinator, Sonja Burns added that, “it took the fear out of FAFSA.”
Dr. Crocker from the Women’s Academy of Excellence thanked the NYULYP, “for presenting this workshop for our parents.” She was “really happy to [have] some of the young ladies come out and learn about this process and to then be able to turnkey that back to their parents.” The YP’s are already looking forward to expanding upon the numbers of families served by this Parent’s Academy Workshop in 2014.
Compiled by Dara K. Marsh | Community Service Chair
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