Los Angeles Business, Education and Elected Leaders Announce Multilingual Financial Aid Blitz

Dozens of Cash for College workshops provide help to L.A. area students and

February 8, 2008

LOS ANGELES, CA - Today at Theodore Roosevelt High School, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent David L. Brewer III, and LAUSD Board President Mónica García joined the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC), the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and Cash for College scholarship recipients to urge high school seniors to access financial aid and a multi-million dollar pool of college scholarships. Almost three dozen free Cash for College workshops will take place on Saturday, February 9th in the L.A. metropolitan area, where financial aid professionals will provide hands-on, multilingual assistance to help students and their families apply for Cal Grants - free cash for college - and other financial aid.

The workshops kick off tomorrow and continue throughout February leading up to the March 2nd Cal Grant application deadline. Workshop volunteers will be on hand to provide personal step-by-step assistance to applicants. In addition, the College Access Foundation of California is offering a $1,000 scholarship at each qualifying workshop as an extra incentive for students to complete their financial aid forms.

"With rising costs, college is becoming increasingly out of reach, especially for our low-income students and first generation college-goers," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "Every student should have the opportunity to earn a college diploma, and Cash for College brings the dream of higher education closer for thousands of Los Angeles students and their families."

"Higher education should be affordable for every Californian and we have a responsibility and tremendous opportunity to make that happen," said LAUSD Superintendent David L. Brewer III. "Cash for College workshops help students find the valuable financial support they need to attend college and succeed."

With more than 90,000 high school seniors in 2007 in L.A. County alone, Cash for College aims to aggressively raise awareness about the availability of Cal Grants as a significant financial aid option to low- and middle-income students. A Cal Grant is money that does not have to be paid back and awards up to $9,700 per student per year to pay for college or career/technical school expenses.

"Today's economy demands a skilled workforce, making higher-education critical to the success of our students and our future economy," said Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Gary Toebben. "The L.A. Area Chamber is proud to be the lead organizer of Cash for College in Los Angeles as we work to help today's high school seniors become the leaders of tomorrow."

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Leveraging a multi-million dollar grant from the College Access Foundation, UNITE-LA, the L.A. Area Chamber and CSAC will award a minimum of $1.4 million in college scholarships to support Cash for College statewide over the next two years. The College Access Foundation will also match contributions up to $200,000 during the same period for students who participate in Cash for College.

"Cal Grants open doors to higher education for students who otherwise could not afford college and obtain their educational goals," said Lorena Hernandez, Commissioner, California Student Aid Commission. "With a Cal Grant, more than 90 percent of Cal Grant recipients attending two- or four-year schools re-enroll for a second year."

This year, Cash for College launched its Ambassadors program, in which recent Cash for College recipients serve as emissaries of the campaign and encourage high school seniors to access financial aid, in return for an additional $3,500 scholarship to support their continued college education.

"Attending a Cash for College workshop was a life-changing experience," said Blanca Morales, Cash for College Ambassador and current student at Santa Monica College. "I never imagined there was anything like the Cal Grant available to help me pay for school, and with this financial aid, I'm on my way to earning a college diploma."

To apply for a Cal Grant, students must fill out and submit two forms by the March 2nd Cal Grant deadline - a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a Cal Grant GPA Verification form. Other financial and academic eligibility requirements apply. Students and families can visit www.lacashforcollege.org or www.calgrants.org, or call 1-888-CA-GRANT to locate Cash for College workshops in their community and find the forms they need to apply for financial aid.

The Los Angeles Cash for College workshops are made possible thanks to many sponsors, including: The California Student Aid Commission, EDFUND, ALL Student Loan Corporation, Bank of America, the Carol and James Collins Foundation, La Opinión, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Trade Tech College, Northrop Grumman, State Farm Insurance, Sterling Foundation, Subway, USA Funds, the College Access Foundation of California, Univision and Vons.

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The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit www.lachamber.com.


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