In its master plan, the City of San Antonio has set a goal for 80 percent of its 2020 high-school graduates to be college ready.
Students are more likely to enter college if they submit a financial aid application. But, only 52 percent of San Antonio’s 2011 high school graduates applied for college financial aid from federal and state sources, a number that San Antonio educators consider too low.
In an effort to increase the number of financial aid applicants in 2012, several San Antonio organizations joined forces to offer Student Aid Saturdays on eight weekends in the spring semester, beginning in January. At the events, college-going students and their families received free assistance in filling out federal and state financial aid forms.
The Student Aid Saturday events were held in high schools and community centers and on college campuses, and they were staffed with trained college financial-aid officers who provided one-on-one, bilingual assistance to students and their families.
Student Aid Saturdays were a project of the Texas College Access Network (TxCAN). TxCAN is part of the National College Access Network (NCAN), a group of public and private organizations that collaborate to increase student access to and success in postsecondary education. TxCAN collaborators in San Antonio include the City of San Antonio, San Antonio Education Partnership, Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, cafécollege, and GenTX-San Antonio. More than 500 volunteers helped during the eight weeks of Student Aid Saturdays, and 26 businesses and community organizations adopted a Student Aid Saturdays site.
Educate Texas, an initiative of the Communities Foundation of Texas to improve public education, has launched TxCAN regional pilot programs in San Antonio and in North Texas (see related article in this newsletter on North Texas’ “FAFSA/TASFA Super Saturday”).
“We’re very proud of everything that the TxCAN partners in San Antonio and Dallas are accomplishing,” said Alejandra Barbosa, Operations and Program Manager for Educate Texas.
More information about the financial aid workshops, about Educate Texas, and about TxCAN’s partnerships for college access is available by contacting Alejandra Barbosa, Operations and Program Manager, Educate Texas, Communities Foundation of Texas, (214) 750-4137, firstname.lastname@example.org.