Financial Aid workshop aid students

By Jane Fernandez

Attendees sat under a green tent marked “Financial Aid Office,” in bold capital letters in order to inquire information about financial aid on Tuesday, Feb. 15.

The financial aid office, currently located on C 2.3, hosted a workshop to help students understand the processes of applying for financial aid.

They have hosted similar workshops in the past.

These workshops provide general information to students and provide answers to the questions they have concerning financial aid.

Topics discussed range from filling out the FAFSA forms, to learning about how one can receive money for fees, books, supplies, living expenses, and even childcare.
The workshops are not solely for continuing Elan students, but other students as well.

Some attendees went to gather information so they can share what they obtained with their family and friends, whom are looking to go back to school or are attending college for the first time.

Angelica Hildalgo, a student, has attended the financial aid awareness workshops on other occasions.

She finds it helpful to know about financial aid.

Hildalgo, who is ready to transfer to a four year university, like many other ELAC students who receive financial aid, wanted to know how financial aid will work for her after she transfers.

Students hear rumors about financial aid are passed around East Los Angeles College, so students attend to confirm if what they heard is true.

“So far,” said Michael Olivos, a student who had never attended a workshop, “I’m certain about the information they have given.” He said that they were still going to provide him with even more information.
Maria Flores, student and mother of an upcoming freshman, found the time deadlines for certain forms to be the most helpful.

She attended the workshop to find out information for herself as well as for her son.

Flores said she now finds it easier to fill out the FAFSA as well as to follow up on it because she now understands the process better.
Financial aid supervisor, Maria Cheikosman, said that students learned about deadlines, cal grants, and other different programs that are out there for students.

“Students will know deadlines for sure,” Lubou Kuzmik, of the district financial aid office, said.

After the workshop and the questions answered, students said financial aid is easier to understand and, like Hildalgo, they will be telling their friends about the benefits of attending the workshops.
The financial aid hosts the workshops every three months.

There is also another workshop that goes on in room GA 115 where students can ask more in-depth questions.
Cheikosman also said that having the workshops out in the open, instead of indoors at a classroom, was more effective in letting students know what was going on as it was visible contrary to being indoors.

The turnout for the workshop was greater than the last workshop.

Free snacks such as cookies and soda are given to students who stop by and sign in.

The workshop staff members provide novelty pens, cell phone holders and literature with more information about schedules, locations of other workshops about CSU and UC financial aid information.

There are also forms and magazines available in Spanish.

“We are trying to provide awareness for students who are interested in finding out more,” said Lindi Fong, financial aid director.

The next workshop will take place on April 28 from noon to 2:00 pm in the E1 building, room 173.

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