Cash for College Workshop Set for Feb. 15 at UC Merced Fresno Center

Students Offered Assistance with Free Application for Federal Student Aid

MERCED, CA — Financial resources are available to help pay the costs of a college or university education, but too many San Joaquin Valley students are missing out. The Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, for example, reports that only 28 percent of students in the region who qualify for Cal Grants even submit an application.

To encourage more Valley students to seek and obtain financial support for higher education, UC Merced is hosting a free Cash for College workshop from 7 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 15 at the UC Merced Fresno Center, 550 E. Shaw Ave.

The Fresno workshop is one of several being presented throughout the Valley as part of California Cash for College, a statewide campaign sponsored by the California Student Aid Commission to increase the accessibility and affordability of higher education for students. Promoted regionally through the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, the campaign is presented in partnership with community volunteers, organizations and educational institutions, including the University of California.

"Financial aid can be the only key that opens the door to higher education for deserving students, so efforts to help educate parents and students about financial aid resources are essential," said UC Merced Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Jane Lawrence. "More than 60 percent of all undergraduate students at University of California campuses receive financial aid. This support provides students with access to higher education, which ultimately helps them achieve their career goals as well."

Continuing throughout the month of February in several Valley locations, Cash for College workshops, including some presented in Spanish, are aimed at helping students successfully complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Grade Point Average Verification Form. Both forms are required for students to apply for Cal Grants and many other types of financial aid. The deadline to submit the FAFSA and Cal Grant GPA Verification Form for the 2005-06 academic year is March 2, 2005.

Both students and parents are encouraged to attend the workshops, and are asked to bring their 2004 federal income tax return forms, W-2 forms or other relevant 2004 income information. They should also bring their driver's license or other form of state identification, and should know their Social Security number.

For more information about the Feb. 15 workshop in Fresno, please contact Mitch Ylarregui in the UC Merced Office of Admissions/Relations with Schools at (559) 241-7474 or by e-mail at mylarregui@ucmerced.edu.

Additional information about all Cash for College workshops by zip code is available online at californiacashforcollege.orgor by calling the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium toll free at (877) ITS-POSSIBLE (487-7677).

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