Workshop informs students on deadlines, increased aid

By Julie Santiago

The Financial Aid office hosted its Financial Aid Transfer Workshop Thursday at the E-1 Building, Room 189.

The workshop had representatives from Cal State LA and UCLA. Representatives spoke about how to financially prepare for transferring to a four-year university.

Representatives informed students about the March 2 deadline for FAFSA and Dream Act, as well as the grant increase to $5,542 which was announced earlier this year. 

Among topics discussed at the workshop were loans, Dreamer eligibility for loans, federal verification needed for forms, work study, grants and scholarships. 

Current East Los Angeles College student Kimberly Salas attended the workshop.

She said she is undecided on what her major is or where she wants to go, but she still has a long way to go before she transfers.

Salas said she felt it would be a good idea to attend and get informed.

“I didn’t know there were so many different options,” Salas said.

Salas said she wasn’t aware of the grants and free money before the workshop.

UCLA representative and alumnus, Sunterrah Palmer, is a first-generation college student who is currently working on her masters in education.

During the presentation, Palmer shared her personal story and gave advice.

Palmer didn’t apply to any scholarships when she went to UCLA. 

“I regret that now because I have thousands of dollars in loan debt that’s still accruing interest.

“I didn’t take advantage so I just have outstanding debt and I could have had four years of free aid,” Palmer said.

Palmer said that money is out there for students.

Students should be proactive for their education and make time to apply for scholarships. 

Palmer wants students to be prepared in a way that she says she wasn’t.

Associate Director of Financial Aid for Cal State LA, Jonathan Choy, also spoke about scholarships. 

“Everybody wants those big scholarships. As you’re driving up the 5 freeway you see that lottery sign that says $150 million [or] $300 million.

“Everybody wants to win that one, but who do we know that has won that scholarship or won that lottery?

“Most of us know someone who has won a scratcher [for] $1,000 dollars, $500, those things add up.

“So you don’t always have to play for the big scholarships, play for the smaller ones. They do add up,” Choy said. 

The workshop, which takes place every Spring and Fall semester, was coordinated by Financial Aid Supervisor Maria Cheikosman and financial aid technician Gladys Rodriguez.

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