By Rhashad R. Pittman
Families from throughout the Central Valley will receive free information and assistance with getting scholarships, grants and loans to pay for college during the San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s annual college awareness event.
From migrant farm workers to local school teachers, more than 3,500 parents and children are expected to attend the 11th Annual Student Financial Aid and College Awareness Workshop on Sunday, Jan. 26. The half-day event starts at 8 a.m. and will be held at the Alex G. Spanos Center on the Stockton campus of University of the Pacific, 3601 Pacific Ave.
During the event, high school seniors will be able to apply for federal grants and loans with the assistance of education professionals by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form online. The FAFSA is used to determine how much financial assistance and what type of aid college students receive from the government to help pay for college.
High school seniors are encouraged to bring their parents income tax information to fill out the federal financial aid application. Federal financial aid can be used to cover the cost of attending a university, community college, or vocational and trade schools, chamber officials noted.
The event will also include college preparation workshops for grades 6th through12th, scholarship information, and financial literacy sessions. There will also be a session on the California Dream Act, which provides state grants for qualified students who are undocumented immigrants. The workshops will be offered in multiple languages, including Spanish.
“The growth and evolution of this unique educational event over the past ten years is so impressive,” said James Jimenez, the chamber’s president. “This event started many years ago in an effort to help parents navigate the application process and encourage college education among Hispanic students. Today we are seeing multicultural families with similar needs so we have expanded our outreach, which includes multi-languages.”
Teachers and other education professionals from a number of area colleges and high schools will also participate in the event, including ones from Pacific, California State University- Stanislaus, San Joaquin Delta College, the San Joaquin County Office of Education, and Stockton and Lodi school districts. The chamber has reached out to local banking professionals as well for the financial literacy segments of the workshops.
“The chamber recognizes the importance of a collegiate education in today’s workforce and has continued the commitment of providing an opportunity for students and their families to learn about available resources so that they can pursue a higher education,” said Chamber CEO Brenna Butler Garcia.
Those planning to attend the event can register in advance by going online (www.icangotocollege.org). For more information call University of the Pacific’s Hispanic Community Outreach Office at (209) 946-7705.